Compiled by Dennis Brungardt

 

My memories of Jonas Brungardt are:

Jonas was the youngest of my dad’s siblings. He was crippled as a result of having polio as a young man. Even though Jonas had to use crutches in conjunction with his ankle braces, he got around pretty good and it never kept him from going to visit family, friends or taking took good care of his car.

Jonas had a good sense of humor, a hearty laugh, and he enjoyed life. Jonas loved music of all kinds, but he especially liked German polkas and waltzes. Country and western music was another of his favorites. Something we shared in common was that we both liked and owned Hank Williams Jr. records. Jonas had a very nice record player and lots of records. My mom, Isabell Brungardt said that Jonas played the harmonica very well. (I don’t remember ever seeing him play an instrument, although I thought that he had a harmonica.)

Our parents, Ben and Isabell Brungardt, frequently took us kids to visit Jonas, Simon, Angela and Leonard in Hanover. We especially looked forward to going there to celebrate the 4th of July. Jonas might not have been as mobile as us kids due to his polio, but he had the heart of a kid and he helped us to have a lively celebration with fireworks.

Jonas usually had extra fireworks for those of us who hadn’t earned or saved enough money to buy the good stuff. He had all kinds of ideas how to make the fireworks do things that we had never imagined possible. He showed us how to launch a tin can about 35 feet into the air with one Black-Cat firecracker, two tin cans and some water. This was before man walked on the moon. He also supervised us during the entire display and gave us direction to reduce the risks of injury.

[ But in reference to the fireworks example of things he taught us over 40 years ago, I must say to all of you, “Caution! Don’t try this, it can cause severe injury!”]

Jonas spent a lot of his time with us kids and he showed us how to have fun without getting hurt or hurting anyone else. In turn, Jonas always seemed to have fun with us and he laughed a lot with us. We always enjoyed his visits to our house and listening to him visit with my folks about the old times. (Philosophically speaking: I think that even though Jonas couldn’t physically run, he really did run vicariously through us kids.)

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Ben Brungardt was a fair and honest man who cared deeply for his family.  His love for the Lord and the Catholic faith were an important part of Ben’s life.  He had a great work ethic and took pride in his work. Ben grew up on the farm and farmed for most of his life.  Even after moving from the farm, he was the sexton of the Washington City Cemetery. While he was physically able, Ben always had his garden and yard to care for.

Sometimes Ben wasn’t a man of many words in what he had to say, but he loved to visit and he had a fantastic memory.  He took great pleasure in sharing his memories with us about him and Isabell growing up in western Kansas, and how they and their families moved to this part of Kansas in the "Dirty Thirties".  Ben enjoyed predicting the weather and many times he was more accurate then the meteorologists. He liked to speak the German language with those that understood it, and he liked to say something to get a laugh.  Ben loved to laugh! 

Ben attended parochial school through the fifth grade where he excelled in math.  Due to the times, Ben was required to help on the farm in addition to "working-out" to help support the family.  What Ben might not have gained in further formal education, he more than made up for with good common sense and exercising his knowledge of right and wrong.

Music was a big part of Ben’s life and his love for music showed. He had a nice singing voice (something his youngest son didn’t inherit or cultivate).  Even though he couldn’t read music, he was an accomplished musician.  Ben played the accordion, piano, organ, and harmonica by ear.  For a few years, Ben played in the Three B’s band with his brothers Fred and Simon.

As a child I loved to listen to my dad visit with his relatives and friends about the "old days" when he was a boy; a young man working-away from the farm; dating my mom; and stories of Folks in western Kansas.  Even as I got older, and still, I found that I never tired of hearing Dad and Mom reliving their lives through the stories they told.  (Stories of their triple dating with their siblings - later to become our uncles and aunts; working the farms with a team of horses; the dust bowl / depression days; moving to north central Kansas and farming, etc.)

At times I have thought how I would have enjoyed being Dad’s age and being one of his good friends.  How great it would have been to see him play his music with his brothers, to have worked along side him, and to have enjoyed his humor and friendship.  But knowing that I have experienced all of those things, I realize that I wouldn’t have had the blessing and enjoyment of being his son.

Dad was always a great father and a very good friend to me.  The highest compliment I can pay Ben Brungardt is by publicly saying to him today, “Dad, you have always been and always will be the best dad I could have ever asked for.”

A Friend and a Father, Ben Brungardt 01/31/10 – forever. Ben went home to be with the Lord on 11/26/01 at 7:30 AM.

 

 Quotable Quotes and expressions, & just things that I think of when I think of Dad:

Upon the subject of wishing or wanting for something unrealistic Dad would either say, “I wish I had __*__” (*whatever it was that the other guy had and Dad wanted) “and he had a feather up his ass, because we would both be tickled”; or “Wish in one hand and shit in the other, then see which fills up first.”

Regarding owing or borrowing, he would laugh and say, “Let’s charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it.”

On important decisions, Dad recommended sleeping on it. If it was real important, wait for three days and if that’s what you still wanted or thought was right after those three days -- that was probably the right thing to do or buy.

Dad upon completing measurements of a grave – “I think that’s straight with the world.” (Or sometimes, “Good enough for government work.”)

Regarding some of our cousins or nephews -- “He’s full of piss and vinegar.”

At meal time it was “Let’s fresssp“ “Pass the broughtsp (bread in German.), plus many other German words and phrases.

Dad’s carrying of and daily praying of the rosary.

Both Dad and Mom’s love for music, card playing, visiting, and love of people and love of life.

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To my knowledge, Dad was as honest as the day was long. *Dad was honest; he never told me a lie. This corresponded to the work ethic that both Dad & Mom instilled in us kids.

*(The only exception was when he suffered from dementia shortly before and after he went to the nursing home. He wasn‘t lying then, he was confused and only said what he believed had happened.) My side note: I think he really did see apparitions of children (angels) the last months of his life; and maybe the dog(s) too.

 

While thinking about Dad, I couldn’t help think about Mom; so I jotted down a few memories and reflections about Mom.

-Mom was a very good example of a mother who put her family and others’ wants and needs before her own.

-Mom and Dad didn’t gossip about others in front of us kids or say anything bad about neighbors and friends.

-Mom always had a smile for everyone and seemed to make time for them as well.

-She was very generous and she gave this advice to those complaining about not having someone as a friend, “To have a friend, you must be a friend.“

Other quotable quotes were:

-“If you can’t say something nice about the person, then don’t say anything all.”

-She also told us when we complained that certain people didn’t speak to us, “Someone has to be first to smile and say hello, so you be the first and see what happens.”

Mom tried hard to always be strong and optimistic, she too had to remember at times to weigh the good times against the bad and she said that she always found that the GOOD TIMES far outweighed the bad, and it is always more fun to be happy than sad.

-One of her thoughts that I think is a gem, “If you can’t have what you want, WANT what you have.”

 

From the time I graduated high school and to this day, Dad nor Mom never interfered with my decisions or offered unsolicited advice. I have always respected my parents for who they are, where they came from and what they represent. .