First Love

Think back and remember that first true love.  I’m not talking about a school yard crush in the second grade, that first boyfriend in high school.  That first person in your life you can recall being totally and completely in love with, that person you looked up to and thought they could do no wrong and was the best thing since sliced bread.

My first love would have been 78 when I was born, Elza (pronounced ElZ).  Recall thinking of him as my boyfriend for as far back as I can remember.  Years ago I found that he was a friend of the grandfather I never knew, wonder if he had something to do with my love for Elza.  I am a firm believer in such things.

Elza pry didn’t stand quite five foot tall, he almost always wore the ol’ farmer blue and white striped overalls and his old cowboy hat or brown ear flapper hat.  When not in his farm clothes he would be dressed to the nines, always a suit, so handsome in his suit. 

As far back as I can remember Elza and his wife lived in town, upon retired they built a house in town and left the farming operation to their sons.  Elza never really retired, well not until shortly before his death at age 99 when the family moved him to a local nursing home.  One could set a clock by Elza, he had to drive past our farm to get to his farm…he’d toodle past in the morning and again just before noon on his drive home for dinner and again after dinner until quitting time when he’d toodle past again.  The worse thing for a new driver was to come upon Elza, don’t think he ever drove more than 35 mph and in the hills it was tough to pass him.  

Elza was a roadside farmer, as my grandfather was and I’ve found that I have become over the years.  Often when he’d be out working or just riding the horses he’d pull in for a visit.  He didn’t have much to say, but when he talked it was always something to hear. The stories he could tell!

My most fond memories are of sitting in the coffee shop in our Hill Town will the man. He carried a pocket watch with a well worn leather strap in the upper front pocket of his overalls.  The best thing in the world was the occasion when he’d pull that watch out and say to come to him and he’d put that watch up to my ear and let me listen to it tick.  Yes, should a simple thing, but a wonderful memory none the less. 

When I was in junior high we went on a 10 mile charity horse ride to the stockyards.  Right along with the rest of us was sweet ol’ Elza riding Desperado.  We were all sunburnt and roasting, didn’t seem to phase him a bit.  He was given an award for being the oldest person on the ride, of no importance to him. 

My absolute best memory of Elza comes with a tear, one that brought tears that had to be hidden the day it happened.  He had slowed down considerably and really shouldn’t have been driving anymore, his memory was starting to go.  We were home visiting from Nebraska, outside at mom and dad’s and Elza pulled in.  The Girl was just a little thing, maybe two.  Elza called The Girl over to him, told her to come over, pulled that watch out of his pocket and held it up to her ear.  Tears of joy and sadness.

My first true love! 



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