Iron Man Of The Month

| July/August 1970

'Uncle Joe!' he said, when I finally got the front door unstuck, unlatched and opened and he stood towering over me like a Paul Bunyan, eyeing me from beneath that woodsman's fur-lined head-gear.

Suddenly my brain re-coiled, realizing as I did that it was none other than Abe Johnson (Father Abram) from up New York State who is so much in love with the human race that he calls every man 'Uncle' and every woman 'Sweetheart,' (excluding his wife, of course).

'I just couldn't stand it being shut up any longer and with spring busting out all over I told my wife I just had to make a sortie out through the midwest and see some of my Pennsylvania-Buckeye friends,' said Abe, extending his burly paw for a lengthy handshake. 'So I up and kissed the good wife, hopped into my puddle hopper and headed out just to tell everyone of these kind hearts and gentle people that of Abe still loves them.'

'I stopped by Uncle Elmer's at Enola, Pa., and found him looking better than he did last summer raring to go to the summer reunions,' snapped Father Abram in his best Holland-Dutch brogue. 'Came on out into Ohio saw the Milt Deetses, Milt and Sarah who I call the 'Corn-husker Buckeyes', then dropped by Uncle Homer Holp's and Uncle Arthur Bowman's, visited a spell with my friend Ed Troutman at Brookville, and thought I couldn't pass through without visiting Uncle Joe. Next I'll go on out and see Uncle Roscoe Shiver-decker Shivvie's the best guy and he'll make me stay overnight. I can just hear what he'll say 'cause he'll be so surprised to see old Abe standin' at his door.

'After I leave Shivvie's, I'll go on up through Kettlersville and say 'Hello' to Uncle Red Fishbach and look over his museum, then I'll go by Uncle Elmer Egbert's to visit with his family. I was so sorry I didn't get out to Uncle Elmer's funeral, and will want to give my sympathy to Mrs. Egbert, another 'sweetheart' of mine the dearest lady who I know is so sad and misses Uncle Elmer as much as I do then I want to console Jack and Frances who live just across from Uncle Elmer's on Amsterdam Road where we always held the Buckeye Threshers each fall and I ran Uncle Elmer's big Case Engine,' rambled my Dutch friend Abe as he plotted his friend-visiting course over a ham sandwich and cup of coffee at my table that spring day. 'After I leave Uncle Elmer Egbert's place, I'll head north to see my Michigan sweethearts, Uncle Percy Sherman and Mae Phipps. And, oh yes, if I only had the time, I'd like to drop by the Blakers but I don't think I can make them all.'

'Father' Abram Johnson is the kind of guy that sort of gets under your skin. You couldn't hate him even if you tried not even if he was a Democrat and you a Republican, or vice-versa he's so warmly human and so universally in love with that family of vertebrates known as the human race. I firmly believe that, if he were even to fall victim to cannibals on African safari and about to be boiled in oil for dinner, he'd rise right up out of the steaming pot and say one last word to the head cook 'Uncle I love you.'