Father’s Day

| 6/21/2011 11:11:09 PM

A photo of MaryMy Dad was born in 1923 to an Irish immigrant Father and Mother of German descent. He barely finished high school and was so certain he hadn’t passed his senior year he didn’t go to his graduation. His dad loved Irish whiskey and Dad missed a lot of school finishing up the milk route after his dad landed up in jail.  Whenever we would do any work around the house, especially in the basement nooks and crannies, we would find some of his empty bottles he had hidden.  Grandmother died of a brain aneurysm while delivering milk in Sheffield in 1944. His sister also died in 1944 of a melanoma. Grandfather died in 1947 and left Dad to take care of his underage brother Myles.  A young attorney Howell Heflin who later became a U.S. Senator was named my uncle’s guardian.

Dad didn’t go to war. He and his brother stayed home on the dairy farm producing milk for the war effort.  A picture of Dad on his tractor taken during the war showed how life back home on the farm was, no rubber tires.  Rubber had to be saved for the war effort and farm equipment had metal wheels.  It had to be rough riding around on that tractor.

Dad during WWII notice the steel wheels

Mom and Dad
Most of Dad’s life was on the farm, and he seldom ventured far.  He would get up in the morning, milk cows while my uncle bottled the milk and churned buttermilk and butter.  Milk was collected in large metal cans and stored in a water cooler until time to bottle it.  My whole family grew up on this raw milk fresh from Guernsey cows, half milk and half cream.  Mom would make up the butter into half pound and one pound salted cakes.  Milk was stacked in crates in the delivery truck with big chunks of ice surrounding the milk bottles, and the whole stack covered with a heavy tarp.  In the summer time kids would wait and ask Dad if they could have a chunk of ice. After the milk route was finished, it was off to the field until dark to bale hay or cut silage.  The day was finished up by the evening milking. Us kids would feed the calves and clean up the barn after milking and take care of the chickens.

The only time we got to spend time with Dad was to go on the milk route with him or ride with him to Corinth, Mississippi, to pick up cotton seed hulls and molasses to feed the cows.  The road to Corinth was very hilly and curvy, and he had a bad habit of passing folks either on a curve or a hill.  Before we left he never failed to say “you’d better bring an extra pair of britches with you.”  Some days we wished we had.  The only song I think he knew was Hank Williams “Why don’t you love me like you used to do.”

Sunday’s we didn’t have stores to deliver milk to, so it was a short delivery day. Mornings we would go the church, and after lunch it was off to check on his herd of registered polled Herefords on the other side of the mountain.  A dairy farm back then was a business which lost money, and Dad kept a herd of beef cows to sell when he needed money.  After checking on the cows we would swing by the pond and fish a spell. He had us believing that dragon flies', which he called "snake doctors," sole purpose was to heal snakes that were injured. After all Dad wouldn’t lie to us.

  Dad left with Mr Kidd and visiting shcool children 

Mary Carton
6/23/2011 10:08:06 PM

Thanks Dave, I miss my Dad. I'm sorry his smoking took him away too soon. Mary

Nebraska Dave
6/23/2011 9:46:04 PM

Mary, that was a great tribute to your Dad. I just hope that my kids have memories like that when I'm gone. My Dad has always been a good example for me to follow and I've tried my best to follow in his footsteps. I have taken my own path and we haven't always seen eye to eye but at 87 I think he just might be a little proud to have me as a son. At least he's indicated that a time or two. I don't get to see him but once a year but I write letters every couple weeks which are basically printed e-mails with pictures and commentary about what I've been doing the since the last letter. He likes to show them to all his friends and family. Dad's are the best aren't they? It's just a sad thing to see them grow old. It's not too much fun for him either. Here's my salute to good old Dad and the great times we have had together.

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