Sunday, May 11, 2008

LETTERS FROM STEVO...Family Trilogy Part II: We Yearn For Ern!

Part II of the Family Trilogy is on my father, Ernest Lyle Busch, aka: Ol' Ern...Ern was born in a barn and raised by a pack of wolves. Just kidding...he was raised in Farmington, NM. Not one for desert small town academia, Ern dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Air Force during the sixties. He was stationed at a base outside of Tallahassee, FL. He once told us that he took a girl to prom from the local high school and that the funny thing that stuck out to him was the school's fight song. The lyrics are as follows, "Holy moly It's the Big Green Indian! Holy moly can't you see him run! Holy moly it's the Big Green Indian! Can't kill him with a rope, knife or gun!" I even remember the tune! I'll gladly sing it to anyone who asks me about it! Fortunately, Ern never had to go to 'Nam and let's just say that once he got out of the service he enjoyed the sixties! The time period between the Air Force and when he met Ma Busch is a little hazy...some of the highlights included, working on coastal shipping docks in California, going to Rolling Stones concerts, was engaged to be married FIVE times, ruffnecking in the oil rigs (this includes being hired, then fired by Bud), and having some SWEET muscle cars from the time period (which includes a Vette!). He was quite the bachelor! Ern met Ma Busch in Farmington. They were in a local play together (Ern saw it as a good way to meet ladies). My aunt Lisa once told me that back in those days Ern was quite the catch, he was a pretty handsome guy! (So that's where I get my good looks!) They were soon married and since Ma Busch had recently been converted to the LDS church, Ern figured he'd better go back too. He was raised LDS but had kind of drifted off into his own little universe. Ern also enrolled in BYU and eventually got a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis in geology. They eventually had their three beloved sons and settled in the small desert wasteland community of Kirtland, NM. He got a job working as a geologist for the state of New Mexico's oil & natural gas commission.

Being raised by Ol' Ern was quite the experience! He would take us out into the wilderness to go exploring or rock hunting. We explored the caves of Dead Horse Canyon, drove a '77 Toyota Landcruiser up Mt. Antero, one of Colorado's 14ers, looking for aquamarine, then traversed back down the mountain on three flat tires! He would take us to well sites and we would name the pumpjacks after Popeye characters. For any gun enthusiasists that might be reading, he owned a chrome Smith & Wesson 357 with a 6 inch barrel. As guns go, that thing was beautiful! When he turned 50, he bought a Honda Goldwing and attended the Ironhorse biker rally in Ignacio, CO. When we were pre-teens, he would let us drive the Landcruiser out in the field in our back yard. He taught us how to knife fight! I have no idea why! Now, he would not tolerate us fighting with each other! All he had to do was whip off that belt and we would immediately stop and start apologizing! On the overall spanking ability rating of 1 to 10, I'll give him a 25! He knew how to spank and it didn't help that he had rather large arms and hands. Dude seriously had guns! He had footballs for biceps! He also taught us how to work. We worked hard! Our Saturdays were spent working in the yard, pulling weeds, digging ditches, building sheds, digging up the septic tank, working on cars, painting the house and turning the car port into a spare room. However, once I got to be a teenager, I learned how to work my dad. I figured out that if you just do what he asks, he'll let you do virtually anything. So I would spend Saturday working along side him, then that night he would give me the keys to the party wagon and some money and I was off to a night of teenage debauchery!

Now for some personal characteristics of Ern. He had a great sense of humor and generally appreciated my sarcasm until it was turned on him! He had a fierce temper and wouldn't back down from anybody. He was extremely loyal, especially to Ma Busch...any ill will towards her meant a potential confrontation with the old man! He was always proud of us and loved going to our sporting events. And he was great at the "heart to heart" talks. No matter what we did, no matter how bad it was, he was always calm...he would just sit us down and try to understand why we did what we did. He was the friendliest guy out there...he would talk to anybody about anything. He was humble to a fault. He never verbally degraded anyone...I mean that literally, I never heard him put another person down, not even behind their back.

Following my mission, he became more than my father...Ol' Ern became my personal friend. We shared a mutual admiration and respect for each other. We understood each other. Two of my proudest moments in life were when I beat him at chess for the first time and when I beat him at arm wrestling for the first time (he was so shocked he had to have a rematch at which he lost again!). On the evening of Dec. 1, 1999, Ern and Ma Busch were leaving the church after a play practice when they were involved in a car accident. Ern was killed instantly and Ma Busch was seriously injured. I was in Provo when I got the call from my brother Dave. As I packed to leave, a family friend from the same town came over to come with me since I supposedly couldn't drive myself. Needless to say I drove the whole night. Many relatives also came out including Bud. Whenever we went somewhere in the truck, we made Bud ride in the middle because that's where the chick rides! Dave and I organized the funeral and were the keynote speakers. We wanted to put a sign up in the church that said, "We Yearn for Ern!" After the funeral, I drove the limo that carried the palbearers and Dave drove the suburban that carried Ern's body. Dave commented that he wanted to take dad four wheelin' one more time! The picture at the top is from Memorial Day 1999 in the La Plata mountains in Colorado...It was the last time we were all together. Ern's wearing the orange hat on the left.
In summary, Ol' Ern is very special to me and will always be one of my absolute favorite people! He would be 63 this year. He would've loved the grandkids! He had always wanted a daughter and I guarantee that if he were still around, Mya would have him wrapped around her manicured little finger!


Rachel Mai said...

An amazing tribute Stevo style. I'm sure Ern wouldn't expect anything less!!!

Gorge Us Family said...

Sounds like Ern was an amazing guy.

Nataluscious said...

What an awesome tribute to your dad. I really like that you never heard him say an unkind word about anyone else - what an example!

And yes, I will want to hear you sing that school song. I love when the past truly demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, how ignorant we were :).