My Daddy is a very tender, compassionate man. He can scarcely bear anything or anyone in pain or discomfort. Even now, when Mama is having issues, Daddy wants to give her whatever she wants, whether it’s good for her or not, just to comfort her. I have to intervene more than a few times a day to keep him from putting the thermostat on 90 because Mama got cold with it on 80!
One of my favorite stories Daddy tells shows his compassion, but I’m afraid it shows my warped sense of humor as well:
When Daddy was a young man, he and a close buddy, Kitch Steele, were walking down the road when a wagon came by with a local man driving it. This man had terrible warts all over his face, which made him really hard to look at. After greetings were exchanged, the man drove on and Daddy’s companion began to demean and belittle this man because he was so ugly. My tender-hearted Daddy kept telling his friend to hush, that the man couldn’t help what he looked like!! Kitch’s answer back is a classic in our family. He told Daddy, “Well….he could stay at home!”
[An ironic thing happened to Mr. Steele later in life: he was kicked in the face by a horse and his previously attractive face was disfigured for life. Dad never forgot…]
I think I have mentioned before that Daddy never lived at home with his folks when they had either indoor plumbing or electricity. He does, however, remember when electricity came to their very rural area. He and another friend, probably Tom Steele, Dad’s best friend growing up, were enamoured with the electric lines over the area lake. Shortly after power was brought to the county, Dad and this friend were studying the lines over the lake. Well, their curiosity got the best of them and they used Daddy’s lariat to lasso one of the lines and THEY PULLED IT DOWN!!!!! OVER THE LAKE!!!!! He said that line fell onto the water, and was jumping and popping all over the place! It is a wonder they weren’t killed! I’m sure that he and his buddy didn’t hang around long enough to see what happened next, but he does remember that they knocked the power off in the entire area! I’m pretty sure no one knew how that happened…
Daddy went to school in a real one room schoolhouse. When he was just starting school, he developed blood poisoning in his gum area, becoming very, very ill. As a matter of fact, the doctor, Dr. Mac, told the locals that “Stump and Ila [Dad’s folks] are going to lose a boy.”
Somehow, Dr. Mac was able to pull Dad through, but he missed many weeks of school because of the illness. Daddy’s precious teacher, Miss Bess McDaniel (Dr. Mac’s daughter) came by every day after school (remember, she would have been walking in rural central Texas!) to teach him to read. Daddy still remembers a line from that reader – “Baby Ray had 3 ducks.”
There are so many stories to pass on from my Daddy. I wish I had started earlier writing them down because we all love them so! I am determined to continue writing them, even if I don’t post them here. Wednesday was Daddy’s birthday, 90 years young! We are having a big party for him tomorrow and he is so excited about all that are coming. He is blessed with many friends and admirers, but I believe they are the more blessed to know my precious Daddy.
God bless your day!