He has finished the ham and funeral potatoes, and he wanders over to Uncle Ned standing next to Uncle Max.
“Dad wasn’t such a bad guy. If he got angry and you were near him, he might kick you down the stairs. But if you survived that explosion, it was over quick and he was all right.”
“He couldn’t be reasoned with, though, Ned. He thought college was crazy. I took beatings from him because he thought it was stupid that I went to college.”
“Yes, you took the beating for all the kids, Max, because after you started making money, he wanted all of us to go to school.”
“Well, mom and I both did. She tried to get between him and me.”
“I know. I appreciate it. But Dad’s mind didn’t work the right way. I said to him once, ‘During the summer when things are slower, why don’t you load coal and store in it a lot? When winter starts, you can sell it first for a better price before everyone else gets more?’ Dad just looked at me and said, ‘Why would I ever work a day that I didn’t get paid for that day?’”