Life in the Shadows

In anticipation of Father’s Day, I took a stroll through town and asked people to share memories of what Little Bull Burson calls the “Hairy Parent.” Space does not permit me to list them all, but here are some of my favorites:

Wilson Hahn says he remembers his father telling him that during the Great Depression, the citizens of Sycamore Shadows conducted a weekly “Indigent’s Drive.”

“What did they do,” Wilson asked him, “give the bums food and shelter?”

“Nope,” his father answered, “we gathered them up, and drove them out of town.”

Homer Hundigger says his father once told him that Sanderling’s Wonderful Music Emporium sold live cats for musicians wanting to make their own catgut violin strings. “Then again,” Homer says, “Pop always swore he was my Daddy, and we know how that turned out.”

Albert Sharpless admits he rarely thinks of his father. “Then I’ll look at someone’s trash, and something they’re thrown out will remind me of Dad, and I’ll stand there holding the trash can with the truck running, and I’ll cry.”

According to Musty Groves, “My dad stumbled, but he tried. He tried harder and stumbled more than anyone I’ve ever known. You can’t say any better about a man.”

Cleb Bowman refuses to talk about his [expletive removed] father but wishes it known that the town car will be unavailable on Wednesday. Anyone needing transportation on that day should contact Otto Hopp.

Ada Sanderling describes her father (my great-grandfather), Allaster Sanderling: “He was a kind, attentive, gentle man who wielded his knowledge of scripture like a two-edged sword. It is unfortunate that he is most remembered for building a giant urinal.”

Monica Horn tells me that she never knew her father. “We must have had bad pipes, though” she adds. “The plumber was at our house nearly every day.”

Oak Stubb says his father was never home. “Dad worked, day and night; I don’t know what for. I stood by the bed on his last day and realized I didn’t even know the man. Such a waste.”

Oliver Freese says his father was the heaviest man on the street. According to Freese, “Kids always made fun of him, calling him ‘Fatty Freese,’ and I could tell it bothered him, but he was the best Dad a boy could have, and lived to be 98, and went to the funerals of everyone who teased him.”

Edwina Dulcet says her Daddy was the one who taught her to yodel. “He told me about his grandparents coming from Switzerland,” she says, “and how I must learn to yodel to keep the family tradition alive. Then I got older and discovered we were from New Jersey. He’d been quoting Heidi the whole time and didn’t know any more about Switzerland than I did. Mom said he’d laugh to tears while I practiced.”

Curly Dowd says his Dad almost shot him once, and he still doesn’t know if it was an accident. “Dad shouldn’t have given me glue in the first place,” Curly admits.

NEXT WEEK: Look for the comic, “Fishes of Sanderling’s Run”

(Send feedback or questions about Sycamore Shadows to or via mail at P.O. Box 326, East Liverpool, Ohio 43920. Visit for information on the 2017 Sycamore Shadows Yearbook. )