I’m becoming a little more like my dad every day. Or maybe I’m just becoming more “Rausch”, as it were. If you don’t know, there are two sides to my family – the Rausch and the Miles, “Miles” being my mother’s maiden name. The Rausch side is German catholic and the Miles side is Irish Catholic. You can imagine how different those two sides would be. The Rausch side tends to be more laid back, quiet, and, well, German. The Miles side tends to be more outgoing, loud, and, well, Irish. As my grandma, Alyce Miles, says, “The only thing Miles about him is his name.” And I must say that she has a point, most of the time. I have my decidedly Miles moments.
My Rausch moments seem to largely over-shadow my Miles moments, however. The other day, for instance, I had nothing to do so I washed my car. Now, if you know my father, you know that he’s a truck freak. He’s not a freak in the sense that he has Dale Earnhardt the III’s racing number memorized, or that he can say “I’ll need to check out your chassis” with a straight face. I mean that he’s a freak about his own truck. He keeps her washed and cleaned and working and all that jazz.
When he gets back from a trip to Nebraska or Iowa or Watertown, he always looks wore down, beaten. Then his eyes light up at the prospect of what comes next, washing his truck. He grabs his stack of tokens, rushes out to the dirty vehicle, and speeds on down the road. I once heard a legend that dad only married mom because he thought that mom’s dad was a car wash owner. Of course, Grandpa isn’t and never was a car wash owner. I bet dad was disappointed to hear that; I heard that he cried.
Now I’ve partially caught the bug. My car was really dirty. I was feeling rich enough for a $6.00 car wash, so I drove over. The machine in Madison allows you to use your credit card. So, for fun, I did that. Mistake. Apparently the machine has to run my credit card request over to the moon and back. It takes some time, and I don’t think that the moon cares at all. I made some mistakes in my first real trip to the car wash.
Mistake #1: using the automatic wash.
Mistake #2: buying the $6.00 one when the $5.00 one probably would have done a better job.
Mistake #3: not having quarters on hand and having to run over to the change machine half way through.
Mistake #4: using the automatic wash.
Mistake #5: not having a wash cloth to clean your floor mats.
Mistake #6: letting the vacuum run out because you forgot to put more quarters in.
Mistake #7: not doing it more often.
I got even more Rauschey when we went to Sioux Falls the next day. Her mom was getting a wheelchair slapped onto the back of her car so wanted to meet us in Sioux Falls to eat or hang out (or whatever). One of the clothes places we went, “Half As Good” or “You Only Live Twice” or some pun on second-hand clothing, was right next to the 26th street Rausch Brothers’ Office.
So, like my father would, I went into a monument company’s office to window shop. And, of course, I drug my girlfriend along. She had to go to her stores, her shops, her clothing outlets, and I get my granite. So, we said “Hi” to the salespeople and walked around. I did my own little granite presentation, admiring the stone, frowning at the non-granite rock there.
I told her stories from the Farm-And-Home shows that I’ve been to. I told her stories from working at Rausch Bros. Monument Co., Inc. I told her about Pam and Jurich because we actually saw their work. I told her about the interiors, the little that I knew.
I did not, however, tell the people there that I was a Rausch. I didn’t let on that I knew about granite and that I knew probably more about how they actually make the finished product that they do. I did ask a question I didn’t know the answer to: How many offices does Rausch Brothers have? The answer: 4, Sioux Falls, SD, Sheridan, IA, Big Stone,SD, & Rapid City, SD. I finally found out where Sheridan is. From Big Stone, it’s like a 9 hour drive. How Mike ever found that place or decided to build an office there, I’ll never know.
The only other dad-like thing that I did was culinary. I ate Japanese food and liked it a lot. Still in Sioux Falls, we finally convinced her mother to take us to Hibachi. Hibachi is a Japanese sushi restaurant and strip club. As we entered, the techno music was overwhelming, brutal, erotic. The front part of the sushi restaurant is the sushi bar. It was here that most of the middle-aged Japanese businessmen forgot about the pressures of their day. In a depressing, psuedo-F. Scott metaphor the west met the east with brilliant reality and fantasy.
Ok, maybe not. It was quiet and largely empty, for as many people as it could hold. There was no bar and no drunk Japanese person. In fact, I saw one Japanese person – the guy at the door. After that, the grill chefs were all Mexican. Megan’s mom, even though she knew this, tried a bit of random Japanese to ask for more green tea. He just stared at her. It was only after she held her bowl up that he figured out what she wanted and got our waiter for her.
We had several kinds of sushi. We had these pork dumplings that were really good. Then for a main dish we had chicken and shrimp. It was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. There were fried vegetables and rice and shrimp and chicken and little sauces. I used chop sticks the whole time, too. It was wonderful.
So, I can say that while parts of me are becoming more like my dad, parts of me are staring into your soul and remembering all the dark secrets you hoped to hide from the world. And I have the world at my fingertips, for all to read.