A photo of my Daddy around 1937, as a guess. I was born nearly 60 years after his birth.
I never saw the home he grew up in, where his brothers died and he came close due to lack of the most simplistic medical care. Where his dad was brought in severed in half (so the story goes) for the little boy who was my father to see after being tied to railroad tracks by some nefarious crew for moon-shining or gambling gone wrong. Where they went hungry too often because these inhospitable hills are exactly That. Where he said he went to work cutting lumbar, doing work adult men would shudder over today, at age nine to earn maybe a penny a day.
Details seems lost without him here to remind me of so much of what really happened, how he really had to live.
When I consider what farming and a homestead meant to him, one of 8, 9 or 10 children in a shanty built in the hills of Lincoln County, WV, I feel a bit silly that I even use those terms in relation to what happens here or anywhere around.
I can hear him saying. . .
"Well, now see, You all are really just playing around."
I guess I am.
Honestly, without the wisdom he carried, that HIS generation, mostly gone now, carried. . . .wisdom that was not just theory but borne out over years and years and years of NO CHOICE, real lifetime farming, homesteading. . .
I often wonder if we really KNOW anything useful at all or if we are just recounting theory and history.
And yet, given that, he would have loved nothing more than sitting on a chair and watching my less harsh version play outthere, being able to enjoy the chickens, the useless donkeys, the high maintenance goats.. .even if he'd have called it, "Just playing around."