Memories of Dad
Even though I was only 10 years old when my father died, I still have those vivid memories of his love for his family.
He was as a proud as a peacock when a new baby was born...and would go all around the neighborhood announcing it's birth.
The Barber Trip
We always had our hair cut at the same time...when needed. There was 4 of us who would load in the wagon on a Saturday morning and ride to the barbershop for haircuts. It would usually take most of the day... because of dirt roads...and the fact that the horse usually ran in one gear (s-l-o-w). Mom always packed a picnic lunch for us.
I can still remember those bacon & egg sandwichs, graham crackers with peanut butter, and most of the time, a big container of pinto beans and onions for Dad.
I don't remember beauty salons in those days, but we always had the boyish hairstyles, so the family barber always did the job well.
I was the one who usually helped him at planting time each Spring. He had a horse and plow for the prep work, then we would handmake the rows. He did most of that, but I was always nearby....waiting for him to yell for something he needed like a drink of water or an additional tool for the job. Then we would plant the corn and beans in the same spot. He had a corn planter, so I would walk along beside him and throw 3 or 4 beans in the hole with the corn. And sometimes, I would be tired, and would not throw the proper amount of beans in the corn planter. Then, I can hear him say, "Hattie! wake up! That's too many beans - or that's not 4 beans".
It also seems....as I get older, the way he always spoke my name, gets more plain; and his face as well....even though I have not looked at his photograph in 5 years or more. This might seem strange to some people, but I understand why.
We learned how to shuck corn at a very early age. I think there was only 2 of us at that time....who could handle the job, so we helped Dad gather the corn and then ready it for Mom to boil and prepare for pickling - Two - 55 gallon barrels were filled with ears of corn, and processed as pickled corn. The green beans were prepared the same way. The kraut was prepared in large crocks, but the children were not allowed to help with the chopping of the cabbage to make that. (no one likes pickled fingers, etc.) We all liked pickled food then, and still do today..but all his friends got some too. He would fill gallon jars from the barrels, and deliver it to his barber and wife, who was also my teacher. In that day, vinegar was delivered in 55 gallon barrels....so when they were empty, the company store would give them away....and Dad always got his share of them. A lot of vinegar was sold in those days because most everyone processed their own pickles, kraut, corn, etc. It was also used for canning as well. Mom and Dad canned about everything...even beef and pork...in half-gallon jars.
Dad took on an extra task of butchering livestock for others....and was usually paid in meat. Of course, we always had hogs to slaughter, and I wonder now, how I ever was able to watch him butcher our pigs. It didn't seem to bother us then...BUT, we were not too fond of eating it. We usually had to be forced to eat the chicken and meats that we saw Daddy prepare.
Friday was always baking time for Mom and Dad. They would be in the kitchen all evening preparing for the weekend, when we usually had kin folks visit. I can still smell that icing and cake mix - made from scratch. They would bake 3 and 4 cakes, and usually 10 different kinds of pies....and one or 2 of those went to neighbors.
Dad was a coal miner - working on the coal tipple, in addition to his job as Deputy Sheriff. He was paid twice a month, and at that time his company store bill was paid..... for food and merchandise that was charged to his account. He was then given a free bag of candy to bring home. He knew lollipops would last longer, and that was our treat, He also knew the flavors we liked, and would get an equal amount of each.
His Last Testament
The last few words Dad said to my Mother gave us the encouragement we needed to know he is in Heaven. He told her not to worry about his soul, that he had forgiven the men who stabbed him.... and even though he had to leave his family, he was still getting a good home out of all of this. He lived 13 days....long enough to accept Christ as his Saviour. He asked to be baptized....at which time the minister of the Methodist Church came to the hospital and sprinkled him on his death bed.
My Last Hug From Dad
I didn't get to spend the last 2 weeks with Dad, but I did get the last hug. It was a Friday evening, and I had returned from a 2-week visit with my Uncle's family.They had brought me home on their way to deliver groceries to his mother who lived a few miles from us. I remember Dad and my uncle were sitting on the porch...Dad in the rocking chair he used to rock the babies...and he had me on his lap...hugging me and telling my Uncle how much his children meant to him.
My uncle was a grocery store owner...and he supplied his mother with food on a monthly basis, since it was many miles from her residence. Those groceries in his truck sparked the tragedy that caused Dad's death. They used theft of the groceries to get Dad to come our to check on them.
The Unforgotten Day
Incidentally, Dad's funeral was on September 11, 1939.....a date that is so much in the minds of everyone today. It is also the birthday of my favorite cousin - the daughter of my Uncle mentioned in this writing. I also have a close friend who will remember this date in the same way. Her father's funeral was September 11, 2001.
In Memory of My Father
Ira James Phillips
Oct. 29, 1903 ~ Sept. 9, 1939
These words are true...and definitely apply to you, a most wonderful Dad who was so proud of your family, and shared the greatest love that could ever be.
Although many years have passed, I still remember your warm, gentle touch... and those kind and loving words that meant so much.
~ Love from Little Hattie ~
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need.
Then God combined these qualities.
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... "DAD!"
~ Author Unknown ~
copyright ©2002 Geoff Anderson
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