The Dappy Dinky Doodler And Other Childhood Fantasies

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden
6 min readJul 8, 2022

There are many things in life that mold us and make us into the people we are. Every day, every moment, every person we connect with brings another form of change to who we are meant to be.

I learned early on that what you have is far less important than who you have.

And, we had family.

I was in my late 30’s, with two little’s of my own, before I came to realize that the man I called poppers, the happy go lucky man who had all the answers and made sure I had everything I needed, came from a time and place where he needed and never received.

He struggled through his life in many ways, and he became determined that we never would.

He is my greatest influencer. My hero and my lifestyle pattern.

He is among the greatest of adventurers, the Paul Harvey of storytellers, the king at uncle bo-duncle and kick the cans. He would win hands down, as the most honorable “troll” under the bridge! (a game he played with us as kids when he took us camping) the master of I spy, and the inventor of the dappy dinky doodler!

Whenever he had free time, he was with us. Taking us on bike rides or hauling us down the road in the back of his pick-up, screaming and shaking his fist out the window, “you won’t catch us, you dirty coppers!” stopping only for ice cream, or penny candy from Gimmer’s dime store.

In our eyes we were rich. We were not.

He worked for the railroad, and would be gone for days, as he would leave, he would gather us all around and ask us to “name our poison”. Taking lists of the lifesaver candy flavors we all wanted and smothering us in kisses and hugs.

He was our favorite playmate, our confidant and without a doubt, our fiercest protector.

Days after my mom died, while reflecting, he said of himself: “I suppose I was a better father than I was a husband”. I can confirm the first part, he is a spectacular father, caring, compassionate, ornery, and incredibly thoughtful. Oh, I met the uncomfortable end of his belt a time or two, but like most pain in life, it redirected me and made me better, for the care in the correction.

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden

Telling stories my heart needs to tell