Sunday, August 26, 2012

Daddy (Franklin Dale Pierce)

This is a story about my dad.  First, I just want to say my dad was one of the finest, kindest, sweetest, and most patient men.  I couldn’t possibly have asked for a better dad.  My dad and I worked together for approximately seventeen years.  We never had a cross word between us.  We went through some tough times together.  We laughed together.  We mourned together at the passing of friends and family, including the passing of my oldest brother, who died at the young age of fifty.  I will never forget the morning we heard about my brother’s death.  We were already in the truck, about to leave for work.  I heard the phone ring and I started to ignore it. But, for some reason I decided to go back in the house and answer the phone.  It was Bobbie Joe’s wife, Jenine, telling me that she had just found Bobbie Joe dead lying on the bed.  So it was my task to go back to the pickup and tell daddy that his firstborn was dead.  I must admit I paused for a long time before I worked up the nerve go and tell daddy.  He was never the same man after this. So, daddy and I went through a lot together.  He was not only my dad, he was my best friend.  Through the years, daddy told me many stories.  Daddy’s life was filled with stories of hardship, pain, and suffering. This is a story of hardship.  This story is set in the mid to late thirty’s.  Daddy was married with four small children.  He lived on a farm, near Tennyson, Texas.  The land was owned by his father-in-law.  It was right in the middle of the great depression, and times were tough.  So, when Pap Pierce told daddy if he could make it to Menard, he knew someone who would give him two horses and a mule.  But, daddy didn’t own a truck or a trailer.  So, he caught a ride to Menard.  Now, it might seem strange that someone wanted to give away two horses and a mule, but, these were tough times.  People could barely feed themselves, much less feed their animals.  So, daddy made it to Menard.  He decided the only way he could get the animals to his farm, was to walk and lead them.  He started early one morning, and he got as far as the four mile barn.  One the horses got so hard to handle that he finally decided to turn it loose.  Anyway, he made it to Eden sometime in the early afternoon.  He stopped at a blacksmith’s shop to see if he could get some water for the animals.  The blacksmith was not friendly or helpful but he finally agreed to let them have some water for ten cents apiece.  They had to drink out of the water he used to cool the hot metal.  Daddy said it wasn’t really fit to drink.  He only had fifty cents to his name when he started.  So, now he only had thirty cents.  He was hungry, so he went into a store and bought a piece of summer sausage, a loaf of bread, and a onion.  So, daddy continued on his journey.  The next town would be Eola, Texas.  About half to Eola, a winter storm blew in and all of a sudden he was in the middle of a blizzard.  Complete with howling wind and blowing snow.  He thought about turning around, but he decided it would be just as easy to make it on to Eola.  He made it to Eola sometime during the night.  He decided he would go to old brother Gill’s house.  He knew brother Gill was a member of the Church Of Christ.  So, he knew that members of the church always take care of each other, and that he would be welcome there.  Daddy beat on the door until Brother Gill finally came to the door.  Daddy was unable to talk.  He said it was like his vocal chords were frozen.  Brother Gill brought him some quilts and laid him by the fire.  When he woke up he said it was about mid-morning.  Brother Gill fed him a big breakfast and he then continued on to Tennyson.  He said he would never forget the kindness Brother Gill showed him, because he literally saved daddy’s life that night.  I don’t think daddy ever told me what he did with the horse and mule.  But, I guess the thing I will remember about this story, was the sheer determination and courage, daddy showed when he faced life’s challenges. What a good man my dad was.  He has been dead for eighteen years and I still miss him.

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