Pop’s Wit and Shenanigans

Lloyd was a man who knew how to live well.

He knew how to have a genuinely good time. Not the kind of fun that lasts for a day and leaves you exhausted, but the kind of good times that were memorable. He knew how to bring people together so that they could get to know one another. He knew how to create an environment that would facilitate enjoyment and interaction. After all, he was known to all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren as “Pop”, and one doesn’t earn that name if it doesn’t fit their personality or character.

In his last days he asked of us: “When I’m gone, don’t think about the bad times, just remember the good times.”

Pop was a very wise, intelligent, and humorous man, which means that there are a lot of good memories to chose from. Here are some of the things we learned from him, as well as some of those good memories that he would like us to remember.

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One of Pop’s favorite ways of creating memorable situations was with food.

Meal times were his forte. Evenings would often find our whole family (15 in all at the time) round his dining table, each of us trying to find enough room on our plates for even a small portion of each dish Pop and Gram had prepared. Even when my family would go camping, they would usually show up to our campsite on the afternoon of the second or third day with a trunk full of ice cream packed on dry ice. Pop also frequently put some eggnog in the freezer after Christmas. Then on some hot summer afternoon he would bring it out and we would have ice cold eggnog. It was kind of weird drinking thick eggnog on a hot summer day. But it was also a ton of fun, and Pop liked doing it because it was something we could look forward to for six months at a time.

On Money and Advancement

Even though his childhood might be considered almost destitute, Lloyd never seemed to look at it that way. Being self reliant for most of his life gave him a different perspective on what he wanted to get out of life. No matter where he found himself, Lloyd had the remarkable ability to be content with it, even if he could have had something better.

life well lived

“Living by myself and growing up by myself I just thought differently than most. ‘Course I always did just want I wanted. But I never worried about anything. That’s what gets me – I worry about stuff more now than I ever did. Probably, money is the worst thing in your life. Because money is the root of everything. I never let it bother me whether I had a dime or had anything. So many people are money hungry. That’s an evil. It doesn’t make a difference how much you’ve got. The more you get the more you want. Doesn’t matter if it’s pushed on them. You have to do something [with it] once you’ve gotten it. It’s been really nice that Gram hasn’t wanted a bigger house or something silly. Most people want a bigger house.”

Now, that is a refreshing attitude. To have the means to get a bigger house but to just stick with the house you’ve already got. That’s the best kind of house. And the best kind of attitude.

On being a high school kid in 1930’s Steamboat Springs

Pop life well lived

In high school Lloyd enjoyed sports and motorcycles. That is, when he wasn’t working full time. His favorite sport was basketball:

“I remember in grade school basketball was my thing. I was going to be a big basketball player. I used to shoot baskets by the hour. I boxed too. I fixed up a punching bag out back of the restaurant and any chance I got I would go punch the bag for an hour. What makes punching bags fun is the rhythm you get into. Next to the restaurant was a store that sold everything – “Mocks”. I would go there and play ping pong with the boy whose parents owned the place.”

Pop life well lived

Lloyd was also the first person in Steamboat to own a motorcycle. He also owned the second motorcycle in town after he managed to lost and couldn’t find the first one:

“The new Harley Davidson I bought, the second day, I rode it into the river. Lost it. About the only thing I can remember losing. Never did buy a car until I got married. And even after we were married we would ride the Harley every night. [Annabeth’s] parents didn’t like motorcycles. Horrors no. Most of the time I wore my cowboy hat. Only wore a helmet on the highway.”

Such is the hubris of youth. “I never expected to live past thirty. Both of my parents died young, so I just figured I would too. I can’t believe how old I am. Who would have thought!”

On Priorities and Making Ends Meet

While he didn’t always make the wisest decisions in head protection, Lloyd did always have a good attitude about things that really mattered. Sandwiches, for instance. “I’ve noticed over the years, they used to make sandwiches in the normal way. Now they build them up so thick and heavy they’ve spoiled them. Now everybody likes two, three layers thick.”

I, for one, must agree. I will never forget Pop’s cheese sandwiches. There are only so many ingredients in a cheese sandwich. But somehow Pop knew how to make them extra perfect.

Along with enjoying the simple things in life, Lloyd found satisfaction in working and getting ahead, and also just noticing and pondering the whims of those around him. On owning and operating his own business: “It gives you a good feeling to be running it yourself. A whole lot better than workin’ for somebody – as long as you don’t run into too many problems – as long as there’s just little problems. Nice to feel you’re getting somewhere. I think it’s nice, when you are running your own business, don’t start getting a big head. It’s interesting how all of a sudden a whole bunch of people will all start buying one thing. Then all just stop buying all of a sudden. All follow each other just like that.”

Sometimes what you need can’t be bought, however. In that case you have to make due. For several years Lloyd tested cars in winter conditions by driving them up Rabbit Ears Pass. During these test drives he wasn’t able to use the heater to warm the cabin. And while he was able to bundle up with multiple layers to keep himself warm during these long, dark, sub-freezing drives, he still had trouble with his feet getting cold. So he sewed together some socks of his own invention – socks interlaced with wires that he hooked up to a battery. With these ‘electric socks’ he was able to keep himself warm during his lonely winter drives.

Lloyd made his electric socks back in the 1950’s. Now days electric socks can be bought for skiing and other winter activities. Batteries likely wouldn’t have been a viable option for skiing 60 years ago, but many Lloyd’s self-made solutions were like that. Simple, effective, and way before their time.

Pop life well lived

How do you remember Lloyd?

We could write a book on Pop’s lifetime of wit and shenanigans. However, we weren’t the only people that were blessed with his love, friendship, and influence. Whether you knew him as Pop or as Lloyd, you know him as someone who genuinely cared about everyone he knew. If you have any memories or stories of Lloyd we would be greatly honored if you would share them here with us. Just leave a comment, write us an email, or contact us on Facebook.

 

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