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Friday, January 30, 2009


Well, today is January 30,2009. It also marks the day my Dad would have turned 105 years old. He was born 1/30/1904 and he passed away on 9/21/1984 at age 80. It's hard to believe it has been twenty five years.

He was the youngest of 12 or 13 kids. I never knew how many because I never met most of them. His father was blind. I don't know if he was blind all his life or if it was a result of a medical condition. I do know that he was a very religious man. My dad also had two sisters who were blind and I believe both of those were from medical reasons. One of them lived in California and would take a bus clear to Tennessee to visit her family. One of the things that was fascinating about her was she had a Braille Bible and she would read it continuously. I remember taking a regular Bible and reading along with her and she never missed a word.

His mother, my grandmother, was a midwife and she believed in a lot of herbs and folk medicine. She delivered five out of seven of us including a set of twins.

My dad was born in Butler, Tennessee in a place called the Hately Hollar. When Watauga Lake was built in the 1940's the place was taken for the lake so there is no exact place it was except under the lake.

I don't remember the name of the school he went to I know it was a one room school and he only went to about the sixth grade. He talked of learning to read from a red backed and blue backed speller and how on Fridays he always won the spelling bee.

My dad met my mother through her brother. They worked together and he came home with him to spend the weekend with him and met my mother. I believe that was 1941. He joined the Army in 1942. They were married in 1943 and he was discharged from the Army in December 1945. I know he served in World War II in France, Germany and Africa but he never spoke of his army life. I think he preferred to forget it since it was at the height of the war.

My dad was a sharecropper which means he worked for other farmers. He would be up before dawn and do his chores and ready for a hard day in the fields. Most planting and taking care of the crops was done by hand and my mother worked alongside him. It didn't matter what it was. If they were haying or planting or preparing or harvesting they both worked together. He loved playing his french harp and was quite good at it.

In his later years he was quite cantankerous and set in his ways. He loved listening to his beloved Yankees either on radio or TV and it upset him if you bothered him. He did not like commercials on TV and would get up and turn down the volume so he didn't have to listen. That was before remote controls. I have often wondered now what he would have done if he had had a remote. He didn't like loud noises so you had to be careful not to slam the door. "Take it with you", he would yell. When he was ready to go to bed at night you better be ready too. He would get up, walk over and turn off the TV and say, "That's it For Today".

In retrospect I wish I had asked more questions about his life as a child, his family, and his service to his country. All of those things leave me wondering but the one thing I can be sure of is he loved his friends, his family and his country. I will have to settle for that.

And now in the words of my father, "That's it For Today".


Sandra said...

Your Dad was a no nonsense kind of man too, I see. Thanks for the insight into your life. I, too, wish that I had more information on my father.

Randy and Pam Warner said...

I can relate - I have wonderful memories of my dad (1912-1974) and wished I had asked more questions.


Judi said...

Jenny, what a wonderful story about your dad. Thanks for sharing. In what little family history research I have done, I always end up with more questions than answers. I guess it is the same with all families, we don't get truly interested until it's too late.