We may not shower him with praise nor mention his name in song. And sometimes it seems that we forget the joy he spreads as he goes along. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t know the wonderful role that he has had. And down deep in every heart there’s a place that is just for Dad.
My father, Alexander Elenberger, was born March 16, 1907 in Omsk, Siberia, Russia. When he was four years old his family left Russia to escape the oppression and cruelty heaped upon the Germans in Siberia. They could not enter the United States because they had no sponsors, so they went to Canada. They took root in Rhein, Saskatchewan. In 1922, they obtained sponsors and moved to Chicago, Illinois, and then in 1930 they went to Arpan, South Dakota to farm sugar beets.
Dad worked hard all his life. After he and Mom were married in 1924, at age 17, he worked for Olsen Brothers Construction in Maywood, Illinois. He worked six days a week, ten hours a day. In Dakota, during the Great Depression, he farmed and worked any job he could get. He played the accordion for dances and Mom made and sold sandwiches to make a little money. Later, Dad worked for the WPA and CCC. They paid good wages and liked Germans because they were hard workers. Dad also worked for the Irrigation District as a ditch rider. The folks also farmed and eventually moved to Nisland where Dad started his small construction company.
Dad lived life with gusto. I have fond memories of him playing the accordion. He never missed a chance to entertain guests and relatives when they came to visit. He propped the accordion on his knee, tapped his foot to get rhythm, and then his fingers flew across the keys. He had no formal music training; he played every song by ear. Dad entertained us all with his jokes and stories, and he was quite the “tease”. He loved his children and grandchildren and we all loved him.
Happy Father’s Day to all you dads.