Seventy-five years ago today, my Dad was born at home. Grandpa had been a successful architect until he lost his sight to glaucoma. By the time my Dad, the last of 14 children, came along in 1937, the family was scratching out a living on a little farm. When the doctor came out to check on Grandma and baby Paul, the family paid the doctor with chickens.
As a child, he fell out of a barn loft and fractured his skull, had his right hand split nearly in half between the pointer and middle finger by an axe, and had rheumatic fever. Grandma said nothing ever kept him down very long. He had to learn to write with his left hand because the right hand healed badly and he couldn't hold a pencil with it.
Grandpa died when Daddy was 11. Daddy quit school in the eighth grade because his older brothers were either married or in the service and Daddy was needed at home on the farm. He may have had an abbreviated formal education, but he is by no means uneducated.
After his own years in the Army, he settled down with his own young family as a hired hand on a dairy farm. When a neighboring farm came up for rent, he bought enough cows to get started as an independent dairy farmer. He instilled in his four daughters a love for nature and good environmental stewardship, the value of hard work, the importance of family, and respect for others.
Recently my sisters and I were talking about our childhood, when one of us described it as idyllic. We all agreed that was how we all felt. I had never even heard of child abuse until I went to college. We credit that idyllic childhood to the love our parents showed to us and to each other.
Once in a blue moon a genuinely good man has a birthday on a blue moon. Today is that day.
This is from April 2011. Daddy with his four daughters to his left.