Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Today's the day.....to start!!!!

Well, well, well. How does one begin...I've never been a person of self expression. My life was never "easy", as some may say. Growing up the fourth child of six, raised by two parents struggling to make ends meet, on one 'small' paycheck. My father bringing home every stray child he came upon.

As a young child being orphaned after the death of his mother during child birth, my father couldn't leave a child to fend for itself. So began a never ending cycle of child rearing. Still amazing to think that this man of little means would touch the lives of twenty five, that's right, twenty five kids!

We never missed the things we didn't know we 'needed'. The things that all the other kids had. Guess you could say, we never knew we were supposed to miss them. They never seemed to be of importance. The things of importance were always provided, Lord willing, by the blood, sweat, and tears (if required) of manual labor. Manual labor, child labor, call it what you will! With all those kids, it took each and every one putting in their own blood, sweat, and tears, just to keep food on the table! We all had our list of work details, each and everyday. Cows to milk, horses to feed, pigs to slop, chicken nests to raid, etc!

As much as it was work, we always managed to find 'fun' along the way! After all, we could be our own 'baseball team' during the over-crowded times, when my father brought home other kids needing food, clothes, etc. But, my parents always made sure the necessary things were taken care of and church, mind you was necessary! We went when the doors were open, everytime. Never missed a beat! Never missed a moment to make sure that we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who we were, where we came from, and where we were going!

My father never talked much of his life before adulthood, just that 'things happen that are beyond your control'. He never had much, if ever, to says about his family before he passed away at the young age of 71, 3 days shy of 72. We knew he had brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and during our young lives, we were 'briefly' introduced to them, here and there. He didn't finish school, attended until the 3rd grade, but left when his mother fell ill. "Gave up schoolin' to help my mother with 8 youngun's at home", was what he'd say when I asked him about it. Just barely could write his own name, much less read. But was very stringent with his children, education was a priority! Sometimes, I think he'd pull a fast one on us, saying he couldn't read. I think he could, just was he way of making sure that we were putting in the effort to learn ourselves! One hell of a man!

Like I said, I never had it 'easy'. Days were long, full of work, lots to do, which didn't include getting into trouble. Never had time for that, unless, we were lucky enough to 'sneak' it into the day's routine, which we did on occasion! I had 3 older sisters, a younger brother and sister, respectively. So, when we could manage the time for an 'occasional' brewhaha, we did! Like, on one of the traditional Easter egg boilings. I was around 8 or 9 years old. My job to 'boil' the eggs for the dying later that evening, a few days before the "Easter bunny's arrival". And as luck would have it, I was in one of my more 'jovial' moods and decided to "half-way boil" the eggs. They were boiled 'just enough' to keep them from 'breaking open' putting them into the cups for dying, but not enough that when you 'smacked' another kid upside the head with one, that the goo inside would 'ooze' down! Now that was fun!!! And as luck would have it, shortly after the hunting was complete came the brewhaha, and boy was my father ever mad! I think he gave me 'barn duty' for the fun of it! We all hated 'barn duty'. "Barn duty' was the equivilent of 'janitorial service' for livestock.

But, I regress....those days are long gone. The sweet childhood days of innocence, fresh air, lots of sunshine, hard work, and tons of...... childhood laughter.

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