Next Saturday June 17th would be my father’s birthday. I don’t remember him. I was two years old when he died, but I think of him often, a lot more so as I’ve grown older. It seems he’s never far from my thoughts. Over the years I heard a lot about him. Of course he was loved by his family and he exemplified love as a devoted son, brother and uncle. People said he was kind-hearted with a great sense of humor.
Richard Delmont Lines (1924-1955)
Described as tall, good-looking, broad-shouldered and physically strong he was also blessed with musical talent. It was said he was a gifted singer, well versed at playing guitar and a songwriter.
My dad, like his nine other siblings who lived into adulthood, had a rough life growing up. Coming from a broken home, they struggled through the years of the depression. At a very young age they often had to fend for themselves… just to eat. And on occasion some found themselves at odds with the law.
In talking about those days and their tough, undisciplined childhood an uncle described one of his brothers as “one rough character, eleven years old and packing a thirty-eight revolver.” That young boy, through his own determination, overcame those beginnings, and even before the war, was well on the road to turning his life around. He would go on to honorably serve his country as a combat soldier. He was one of the most respected, admired and finest men I’ve ever known.
On this day as we gather our families together with picnics and fireworks to celebrate our country’s independence I can’t help but think of my 2nd great-grandfather Edward Byron Patton. He was 34 years old on this date in 1860. Less than a year later Abraham Lincoln would become president. The father of 4 small children ages 1-6, the youngest, my great grandmother Mary Jane.
Edward Byron Patton
There was no celebration for Edward or his family on that Fourth of July and I would imagine it was tainted every year after. For on that morning his 27-year old wife Esther passed away. A newspaper account read that so greatly admired was she, and through respect to her memory in their small town, “all patriotic demonstrations were suspended and not an unnecessary sound was heard throughout the day.”
Edward never remarried and over all those years ahead, as a single father, he raised his children. Along the way he became a successful builder and contractor. I can imagine he was a beloved father, grandfather and patriarch.
I often think of what it must have been like for my great grandfather on that solemn day, traditionally set aside for happy celebration. I wonder what it would have been like to have watched him on that day conduct his affairs with the loss of his young wife. He was once a breathing living person, as real as you and I. Not just a name with dates and places among a long list of thousands who came before us. How I would like to set across the table from him and get to know him.
That’s a little of what I think about, every 4th of July.
Family History and the Story Tellers
Hear these words, hear the rhyme
Heed the hope within my mind
Send me back to where I’ll find
What I wish in place and time
In your time it’s December 13, 1971. I know it’s hard to believe and will come as a great surprise but I’m you! Yep you, but exactly 40 years in your future.
I’ll help you here. Remember that ghostly woman who would repeatedly terrorize you in nightmares as a five-year old? We never knew her intentions, but we knew she was evil. Then there’s that dream of a lakeside home and a boat parked in the back. The huge antenna atop that sprawling ranch style home. How about that last kiss and the words Dani said to you just five nights ago when you last saw her? All those doubts and the terrible, nagging, lingering ache in your heart? Who else but you could know these things? Young love is always tough. Give it time, your feelings will pass as they will for the others that will surely come. Heart breakers, every one of them! Prepare yourself… adult love can be even worse. Continue reading
Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. ~~ Mahatma Gandhi
I received some criticism a few days ago. It was written in the form of a comment to my post last Thursday Half-Way to Thirty. It came from an anonymous writer. It was criticism not of my blog, but of me. Very personal criticism.
It was suggested that I would spend better use of my time, rather than writing a blog, by looking for employment. They wrote because I was unemployed and down-and-out — more than anyone would want to be — that I was portraying “a false image, one of sophistication and classiness [sic]. Little do your readers know you’re an unemployed loser who is too lazy to get a job.”
Well you might imagine how I felt. I didn’t know who this person was. I had suspicions that it was a former friend. I know, you gotta laugh. With friends like that, who needs enemies right? But read on. So I took a deep breath and wrote a reply: Continue reading
My ex-father-in-law played an integral part in my life for more than 20-years. He is the only father I’ve ever known. Today is his 90th birthday.
It’s hard to imagine that so many years have gone by, but that seems to have become normal for me when recalling fond memories of the past. I’m older today by a few years than he was when we first came to know one another. At the time I was 23. He was bigger than life, outgoing, happy-go-lucky, energetic and just plain fun! I liked him from the start as does anyone privileged to know him. The father of six daughters and now the grandfather and great-grandfather of dozens more he’s lived a rich and full life. I hope today he would reflect back on those 90-years and can say he’s enjoyed the journey. I think he has. And I hope too he would know how proud his father, and mother would feel about their son’s many accomplishments. Continue reading