Friday, May 13, 2011

Memories - Grandpa Pete

As I have mentioned before, I was lucky enough in my youth to have not only all four of my grandparents, but also two of my great-grandparents, nearby. Grandpa Pete was one of these latter, husband of great-grandma Gladys of whom I have already written. Of the six grandparents that I knew in my lifetime, Grandpa Pete was probably the least familiar to me. Our paths just didn’t cross as much as with the other grandparents. But I do have a few memories to share, so let us begin.
First of all, Grandpa Pete’s full name was Albert Henry Brandt. Why did we call him Grandpa Pete? I have no idea. When I was very small, our farm was quite busy, with Grandpa Pete, Grandpa Meril Dean, and Dad all active in the family business. In every tractor, every pickup, and every house, there was a cb radio so the men could keep in touch, and the women could reach them if they needed to. Grandpa Pete’s cb handle was “Pistol Pete”, I remember that name on the back window of his orange and white chevy pickup in stick-on letters. I’m guessing Pistol Pete was a nickname he had picked up somewhere, and that’s probably why we called him Grandpa Pete. That is, however, still largely a mystery to me.
When I think of Grandpa Pete, the first thing that always comes to mind is horses. Grandpa Pete loved horses. When I was still very small, he had a couple of horses on the farm, but nobody ever rode them as far as I know. I got the impression they were rather old. I can’t remember their names, but I’m thinking one of them might have been Pepper.
Loving horses as he did, Grandpa Pete enjoyed going to the races, probably at Fonner Park over in Grand Island since I think that is the closest track to here. One of the favorite photos that I have in my possession is of Grandpa Pete, along with his brother Adolph, sister Eva, family friend Demps Clark, and a few other people I do not know. They are all standing in front of a horse at the racetrack, the horse having won a race that day. The caption on the photo says the horse belonged to Aunt Eva. I guess I like the photo so much because I have very few pictures of Grandpa, and this one is rather old, showing a much younger Albert Brandt than the one I knew.
Grandpa Pete was, of course, a farmer, from a long line of farmers that ended with my dad. I have a newspaper clipping from 1950, announcing that Albert Brandt had purchased some land north of Gibbon. That would undoubtedly be the farm that I grew up on. I vaguely remember a story about Grandpa finding a $5 gold piece in one of his corn fields, butI don’t really remember where I heard that.
I think the only other thing that I personally remember about Grandpa Pete, was that he was always burning stuff. HaHa! Back in the day, farmers would burn off the stalks and “trash” from a field that had recently been harvested. Grandpa also liked to burn the road ditches, when the weeds got tall and were dry from lack of rain. I don’t think he was a pyromaniac, I guess he just liked things to look neat and tidy instead of ragged and weedy. They have a lot of laws and regulations about burning now-a-days so I don’t know if farmer’s still do that, but you could always count on Grandpa Pete to burn something up.
Since I don’t really remember a lot about Grandpa, I decided to ask my brother, Kevin, what he remembered. I figured Kevin probably knew him better than the rest of us since he, Dad, and Grandpa Pete all lived together for a while. Here’s what Kevin had to say:

I've given it a lot of thought and there's really only a few things that really stood out in my mind about him. It sure did bring back some memories though, both good and bad.
Well, things he liked was coffee, Grandma Gladys' sugar cookies, watermelon and he loved steak but he couldn't chew it so he gnawed on it for a while then spit it out. Also he had a thing for pickled pigs feet. He liked to watch Matlock and loved baseball. He always wore a blue long sleeve button up shirt with overalls. His hair was always cut short, crew cut, and wore his hat with the bill turned just to the side.
You already know that he liked the horse races and he took me a few times.
We would often just get in his pickup and go driving around the country looking at stuff and he always let me drive. He taught me how to skin pheasant and rabbits.
I don't really remember any thing that he said a lot other than "god dammit Kevin", but I guess that was all the grown ups.

Those are some pretty cool memories, and I didn’t know any of those things about Grandpa, although I do remember the blue work shirts and overalls since Kevin mentioned it. I think that’s pretty neat that he liked Grandma Gladys’ sugar cookies so much; didn’t we all! That’s also a little sad since he outlived his wife by three years or so.
Kevin also mentioned to me that Pete is a nickname for Albert and that’s why he went by that name, something else I did not know.
Albert Henry (Pete) Brandt was born on December 22, 1897, in Surprise, Nebraska. He married Gladys Opal Brogan on August 6, 1920, and died on July 15, 1985, in Kearney, Nebraska. He now rests in Riverside Cemetery in Gibbon, Nebraska, beside his wife, parents, son, and grandson.

Proverbs 12:11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.

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