Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Dad-For My Family-To Remember Him

My apple napkin holder hand carved by Dad for me 40 years ago. I use this everyday!A trunk made by my Dad, my sister and I shared this for storage of sweaters,
after I was married and had my children it became a toy box and now
I use it to store seasonal displays for my family room. It is near my fireplace.
My Mom and Dad, this was just before I was born, the original photo was taken in 1947~!
My Dad working behind the counter at Quimby's Lodge/Inn in Vermont.The cover of the issue of the Vermonter where they had the article about my Dad and the bear. The article and a photo of Quimby's Lodge/Inn. A photo of my Dad and my oldest brother, with the bear.Quimby's Lodge and Inn, I took this when we went to visit two years ago, it has never changed. . .you can see in the photo of the article. Then we moved to New York, this was our farm house and my Dad, I still remember sitting on that front porch! This photo was taken right after he purchased the farm, he sent the photo to Miss Quimby and they kept it all these years in their photo albums.
My Dad's bank book, the last entry was July 16, my birthday, we then moved to New Jersey. The last amount was $50.00.

The first entry.My son with a black bear, in the summer he works in Minnesota with bears!~
The photo is dark, but you can see a bear on the left.

Today would have been my Dad's 106th birthday. I remember the day my Mom called to tell me that he had passed away, we had just moved to another state and I was thankful that I had been able to go home and visit him before he left us. He loved cardinals, they were one of his favorite birds, after my Mom told me that my Dad had passed away I looked out the window and sitting in a large pine tree with boughs heavy with snow was a bright red cardinal and he seemed to look at me and then flew away. Seeing the bird made the pain easier to deal with, I knew my Dad was in peace.

He could put a stick into the dirt and a plant would grow, he had a really green thumb and enjoyed gardening. He also was a woodworker and carved scenes of Vermont where my family once lived and he worked. One of his wood carvings won an Honorable Mention at an art show in Princeton, NJ. He was so happy and we were all so proud. I learned to use tools, garden and do 'man's work by hanging around my father.

Our family left Vermont to move to Cazenovia, NY, where my Dad bought a diary farm, I loved living there. For me it was my own personal adventure park, but it was a lot of hard work for others in the family. I have his bank book from when we lived there, it shows the first deposit made on February 23, 1951. The last entry, which happened to be on my birthday, was on July 16, 1956! Our income was from the sale of milk. My brothers had all enlisted in the Army and running the farm was too much for my Dad alone, so we moved to New Jersey where he worked at Walker Gordon Farms. He loved New York State and Vermont and he would call it "God's Country", for many years after we moved to NJ we would vacation to Vermont and Canada, in Canada we would visit my Mom's family.

He was sort of a folk hero in Vermont where he worked at Quimby's Lodge/Inn as a jack-of-all-trades, a fishing guide, he worked behind the counter selling tackle and fishing stuff and souvenirs, he helped care for the horses in the stables and doing whatever, wherever he was needed. There was a bear that had become a problem and was trying to get into the cottages, getting into garbage and then after the bear startled a horse throwing the rider to the ground the owner of the Inn, Miss Quimby, asked my Dad to kill the bear and he did with one shot. He was written about in the Vermonter and was a hero at Quimby's and in the villages around the area. Two years ago I went there to visit and the Inn has not changed, I was about 14 when I last was there with my Dad and Mom. It was strange going back, the new owner let me take photos of photos from the many photo albums they had. It was like going back in time and getting to visit with my Dad once again. The truth be told, he told us years later he never wanted to kill the bear, but he also felt if someone did get hurt he would have felt responsible. Now, many years later, my son goes to college in Vermont, about 40 miles from where my life first began. He has always had an interest in bears; in the summer, he works with bears! He is studying their habits and feels a bond with them. . .funny how life can take you down a road where it runs parallel with times of long ago.

My Dad may have been a hero for many because he shot a bear, but he was a hero to all of us. . .he taught us the meaning of working hard for what you need, to care for what you own, to respect others and be kind and caring. He would say that you do not have to enter a church to pray, that you can pray where ever you are and he said he felt the closest to God when he worked in his flower gardens. He was a loving Dad and I still think of him everyday.

Happy Birthday to my Dad
PS-I am not a sports fan, but I am hoping the Arizona Cardinals win the Super Bowl, just because of their name. . .Cardinals!


Bettsi said...

Martha, what a beautiful tribute. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man.

Carla said...

This is such a wonderful tribute to your father. It was great reading it.

Linda said...

What a great tribute to your dad. When I first started blogging, I posted tributes to my parents and thankfully, there are still here so they got to read them.

Elaine said...

What lovely precious memories Martha, thank you for sharing them.

Love and blessings

ctlogcabin said...

Martha ~~ Im a little late catching up...but your brought tears to my eyes. What a loving tribute to your Father, he sounds like a wonderful man. And you my dear must have been a very special daughter. Just a side note my birthday is July 15th so we are a day apart.
Hugs ~ Connie xox