Wednesday, December 10, 2008
He was born in the big farm house on a snowy morning in Virginia. I talked to a very elderly lady many years ago who remembered how my father's elder sister ran across the fields to tell the neighbors of his birth. It was a happy occasion that a son was born. It gave me a lot of pleasure to hear about his birth from someone who had been there and seen him when he was a baby.
My father would share a lot of stories about growing up on the farm. He told me about getting up on cold mornings and running down the stairs to stand in front of the fire in the dining room to get dressed. He told me about mornings that he and his father would ride on horseback for several miles to meet up with other riders for fox hunting. He told me about hog killing time and curing of meat in the smoke house.
He lived in another time. He never forgot the community though and would go to visit old neighbors whenever he can. At Christmas, he would take gifts to those old timers that lived near his birthplace.
The farm was sold and the old farmhouse fell into disrepair. At least I have photos of it. And I did an oil painting of it when I was a teenager. I remember going in the farm house and seeing my father's room upstairs. The house was empty then, with only the echoes from his past still present. I always thought that was sad and developed a feeling at that time that houses have souls too. I still believe that.
Many of the people that he grew up with have died. All of his siblings are dead. One died from alcoholism. I don't know what happened along the way in life for her or my father to have decided that drinking was a source of solace. It's a question that everyone asks who has an alcoholic relative. How did the child born in innocence become tainted by life?
Anyway, I guess all this rambling is to tell you that I still miss my dad. I would like for him to know that I'm thinking about him on his birthday. I like to think that his spirit lives on in me.