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family tradition
I have often wished that I could have known this fellow...the man who would eventually grow up and become my father. The goofball posing on the tree stump was the only boy in a brood of four. As a kid, he fell out of the barn loft and broke both arms. Guess who wiped his butt while those fractures healed? Yep..sisters do what they have to do when the need arises. They were a sharecropper's family born during the great depression and raised on hard times the likes of which not many of us have ever seen. That old adage about trudging five miles in the snow to school was their reality. When the snow melted and things turned green, they hit the fields and helped their daddy out with the crop.

In the Air Force, he wore the uniform proudly and served his country as a supply man in several different locations, including the Azores. I have another precious picture of him when he and Mama were stationed in Louisiana where he posed with a stew pot on his head, grinning from ear to ear, silly boy. He had his whole life in front of him and things looked good.

He earned a degree in agriculture from the college that was known then as the University of Tennessee Martin Branch, thanks to scholarship opportunites. From there he became a farmer in every sense of the word, tracking the path of the Japanese beetle and other critters with pins on a map for the USDA all the while managing the farm on which we lived. There was always a garden, and usually a big one. The man believed in living off the land and giving thanks, and he still does.

So do I.

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