May 20th………“WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE ON THE FARM, GRANDPA, DID YOU EVER SAY THINGS THAT MADE PEOPLE LAUGH EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE SERIOUS”??
The velvet voice of lovely Dinah Shore was singing right at Harry Bauman that evening on the television set in our farm house Living Room. Her melodic charms flowed through the Chevrolet advertising jingle that she sang with that marvelous smile……..”Seeeee the USA in a Chevrolet, America is asking you to call, Drive your Chevrolet through the USA, America’s the greatest land of all………”!!!! It appeared that Harry was “hooked”! 😉
Harry Bauman was not blood relation to our family, but there was a wonderful kindred spirit between he and our clan that bordered on “blood brothers”, so to speak, and endeared him to our hearts in every respect of the word…….LOVE!!! Matter of fact, we Noorlun kids referred to him, very affectionately, as “Grandpa” Harry!
Before being widowed at an early age, Harry and his dear wife passed many a happy evening playing cards with our parents. After Mrs. Bauman’s passing, and with his own children having “flown the nest”, it was only natural that that earlier bond of fellowship brought our beloved other grandpa over to our home on many, many happy occasions.
America was still in her full-blown love affair with the car industry in the Fall of 1961. Extravagant advertising campaigns, from magazines to television, touted the glorious new features of the coming 1962 models of cars that were ready for purchase and enjoyment even before the first day of that New Year had yet arrived. Dear, sweet Harry must’ve been entranced by Dinah Shore’s entreaty to “see the USA in a Chevrolet”, because, not too long after that night at our home with us, he had landed upon the showroom floor of a local dealer and put his autograph on the dotted line of owning a new Chevy for his very own. I happened to be out on the front lawn of our farm home one day, when, down the gravel road and through the speckled shade of our treed windbreak, came our jovial German “knight in shining armor” riding his new steel steed. Slowing down to make the turn into our farm’s driveway came “Grandpa” Harry with a brand spanking new 1962 white Chevrolet Impala and whoooeee was that ever a purdeee car 😉
As a little, literally-minded boy of seven years old in 1961, I pretty much swallowed everything that the television said was true. Even when that “truth” had to do with commercials that dealt with various tire companies and how their tires were the best of all.
I had a chance to share those “truths” the following Spring when Harry offered to use his new car to drive our family to northern Minnesota to visit my mother’s brother and family in Mahnomen, Minnesota.
Now anything that is man-made is bound to fall apart sometime. In this case, the “fall apart” came in the form of a flat tire during our trip. Mom and us youngsters were told to stay in the car while Dad and Harry began the process of replacing that flat tire. I thought it great fun to hear Dad putting together that full-sized car jack and clinking it into position on the right rear passenger side of Harry’s new Chevy Impala. With each “ker-clickety-clank, ker-clickety-clank” of the jack handle, those of us inside the car could feel the inch by inch rising of the vehicle to allow for the tire removal and replacement.
Innocently wanting to contribute my wisdom of tire knowledge, that I had gleaned from all those TV commercials, I rolled down the window and looked down below to Harry and our father, Russell, working diligently to get us back on the road. “Heyyyyy, Harry”!!?? To which he patiently replied, “Yes, Elliott, what is it”? “Welllll, I saw on TV where you can buy some GOOD tires”!!!
Being the kind-hearted soul he was, Harry saw humor, instead of harassment, and loudly busted out in an uproarious fit of laughter that about had him rolling in the ditch next to us!!! For the life of me, in my little boy mind, I couldn’t fathom why he was laughing so much (and Daddy along with him). Some men may have taken offense by this child’s perspective and felt an intrusion to their masculinity in this type of situation……..but not sweet Harry Bauman. It’s no wonder he was so well loved by our family and this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉