Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Father Was Born 100 Years Ago

My father was born in March 1908 in Indiana. His parents and two brothers were on their way to somewhere from their old family home in southern Virginia. That some where turned out to be the new state of Oklahoma, where they settled on a 160 acres in the little town of Quannah Parker, Oklahoma next to the Kemp and Kell Railroad out of Wichita Falls Texas. After a few years their top soil had washed down into someone else's creek and the town burned down. So they bought some more land down on the flats by a rutted road that eventually turned into U.S. Highway 70.

Here is my Dad (middle kid) in his final year of school. It is the Cameron School in rural Tillman county (it burned down too).
It is his last year because his father decided that he needed to take one of his three older boys out of school to work the land. He decide my father didn't need go no further than the 8th grade so out he came and behind the mules he went until he was old enough to walk away on his own. One other brother, later, was taken out too, but two were left to finish high school. His Dad was a selfish old fart.

During the depression he left his Dads farm, married a girl down the road and went to work for his uncle building roads in Texas. He worked as a foreman on double shift 16 hours a day 6 days a week where he learn Spanish (sort of) and how to handle dynamite(which he said was easier than handling my mother).

He and his bride spent a couple of years living in a tent on construction sites until they had twin girls. Being lonely for home, and having two babies, my mother talked him into going back to work on her Dad's farm. That didn't last long.

Here is their young family about 1942. Dad looks a little wild eyed there. Living with four women might make a man have that look. Later they had me and my brother for a total of five children.

Dad was a share cropping farmer. He farmed other peoples land, with his own equipment, fuel, and seed. He kept 2/3rds of the gross they kept 1/3. After costs, that meant he got only half of the profit for his labor, time, expertise,and wear and tear on his machinery. In his whole life of working the land he never owned more than a small city lot of it.

He lived long enough to see my three children born. By then however he had 13 other grandchildren, and a passel of great grandchildren and a great-great grandchild or two.
Like all fathers he was the best man ever born and a christian saint who never did no wrong and never laid a hand on me, was fair and just to everyone he ever met, beloved by animals and children, and of course I've grown up just like him.
He was a special man, well I mean he was special to me. It is just, how could it be a hundred years since he was born? He died a quarter of a century ago. That doesn't seem right either. I mean, dang it, it seems like he just left. I don't look nothing like my Dad. My youngest son does however. Me, I look like my mother but somewhat fatter and in drag. About time to divest my home of mirrors I think.
Well, I just thought I would note this small event of a man's 100th birthday even if he weren't here for the cake. Happy Birthday Pop!


BB-Idaho said...

"He worked as a foreman on double shift 16 hours a day 6 days a week" So THAT'S what started the Dust Bowl!

Trixie said...

I think this may be about the bestest thing I ever did read, Drlobojo. It's a beautiful remembrance. Thanks for posting it.

drlobojo said...

Thanks guys for the comments. I should add the addendum to ... he never laid a hand on me ... except the time when I was 17 and I cussed him and he knocked me through living room wall into my bedroom, then he and I both had to run for our lives when Momma came after both of us for tearing up her house, with the cast iron skillet she had been heating on the stove. That had slipped my mind.

Erudite Redneck said...

Very nice.

Daddy ER was born in 1914. The only, time he hit me was once when I was about 15 or 16 (of course) and I poppin' off about something. He said, "Boy, the Biblke says to honor your father and mother." And I said, "Yeah, well, it says 'fathers provoke not your children to wrath,' too."

Wham -- a big ol' beefy hand across my butt. I was standin' just within reach, with him sittin' at the kitchen table. But I never saw it comin'.

pecheur said...

Thanks for sharing

jay paul said...

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