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 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 alone over all those years ahead 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 a breathing living person, as real as you and I. Not just a name with places and dates among a long list of thousands. 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
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 his mother too, would feel about their son’s many accomplishments. Continue reading