If I had enough time I could write a real tribute to one of the bestest men who every lived. We all have our own special memories of him and we need to share these so that our grandchildren can know him.
He was a great cook, well he liked to experiment and try new things. Danny got that talent from him and he makes some good stuff. He would pull out his dutch ovens and cook fried chicken and biscuits and potatoes with onions. He would be cooking them all at the same time and would have his head wrapped in a red bandana to keep the sweat from dripping into the food. When he wanted to know if the chicken was done he would take a piece and test it. I think he did enough testing that when everything was done he didn't eat anything. There isn't a lot of food better than that meal cooked outside in dutch ovens.
He was a great singer, well not really, but he sure loved to sing the old cowboy songs. I remember him singing Billy Venero, which he never could remember all the words to. I rounded up those words after he died and wish that I could have found them before that. Just remember him singing until he wasn't sure then he would tell us what happened next and then finished the song. He always sang when we would drive home from Globe when I was little, and whenever we would go on a road trip. He loved the hymns also he would love it when one of us girls would sit at the piano and play them. His favorite of course was “Love at Home”. He sang, “You Are My Sunshine” to Helena, and we got him to sing that on a tape that he sent to us. We listened to that tape a lot and I will try to find it and see if we can preserve it for everyone.
He was a great farmer. He planted flowers and roses along with the cash crops. He grew a garden and even though I am not sure how much he worked out in it, we had wonderful watermelons and other things including okra – which mom would coat in flour and fry in a little bit of oil, tasted just like fried chicken. He didn't like sweet corn as much as Mexican June - a white field corn. It was so good on the cob. One year mom made a casserole that was similar to green corn tamales with that corn. I think that is why I like green corn tamales- they remind me of him.
He was a great dad. When we were little he worked so hard and don't know how much free time he had. Once in awhile we would load up and go to the mountain and have a picnic. He would tell us stories along the way about the area. Stories about the stage robbery, the old Carter sawmill, the Powers family massacre, and others that his father had told him. He loved to spend time with us and made every one of his kids feel special. Our last Christmas in Pima he didn’t even let us know that the entire world had fallen apart, that he didn’t have a job. Everything was as normal as it could be. After he got a job offer in Wenden, he brought Danny, mom, and me together and told us that we had seen everything in the area and we were moving to the other side of the state, there would be new things to see and explore and we would get the chance to see them. He never made it look like a negative thing, and yet you know that was a hard thing for him to do.
He was a very spiritual man. When we moved we had to drive 60 miles one way to church on Sunday, but we faithfully went. He would take Danny early every Sunday morning and mom and I would drive out later. He would stay beyond the regular meetings and fulfill his responsibilities as a member of the bishopric. The farm work would wait on Sunday. After a few years in the valley, the local gin owner called a meeting of the farmers in the area. He told them that the gin was going to close on Sunday so that there workers could get a day off. Several farmers complained that there would not be enough time to get everything done that needed to be done without all seven days. The gin owner turned to my dad and said, “Lynn has one of the biggest farms in the area. He never works on Sunday, his workers get a day off every week. His crop is always one of the first ones in.” The gin was closed on Sundays after that. There is now a branch in that small town and the people don’t have to drive far to church. I know that we ended up out there because dad would provide the influence that the community needed to get a building built. Abe was the first new member baptized in the Wenden Branch, when dad baptized him he said that he would have to welcome him as a son-in-law since he had the opportunity to drown him and didn’t. He served as Branch President for many years up until a few months before his death.
He was a big man. I was never sure how tall he really was. When you looked up to him literally, with his cowboy boots and hat he looked so very large. He always wore boots, a western shirt, and Levis. He never wore tennis shoes or t shirts. He always had his shirt tucked in and a red bandana in his back pocket. On Sunday he wore a western cut suit. He wore a straw hat or felt one depending on the season. He loved to have his bald head massaged as tif-do remembers. He would tell you that if you rubbed it maybe it would help his hair grow back or it might bring you good luck. He would have you check to make sure there weren’t any long hairs trying to grow in, and if you found one you had to pull it out. His eyes were a pale grey blue and there was always a twinkle in them.
When we moved our family to SD, he followed us the two miles down the dirt road to the highway. There were tears on his face and he told us it was just the moisture in the air. I never knew how hard this was for him until we had children and grandchildren of our own so very far away and then it was easier to understand. He called us every Saturday, and after his death I would have a real hard time on Saturday, knowing that the phone wasn’t going to ring.
When he died I would have dreams that he was still here, that it was a bad dream. I know that he is still watching over our family. I really feel that he spends time with each of our children before he lets them come to earth - he had a hard time letting Gwen and Maddie go since he loved their moms so much.
Some of these things you all know and have probably heard, but we need to write them down so that our children and grandchildren can understand this great man who was the patriarch of our wonderful, big, crazy family. I am glad that we now have a way to share our thoughts and day to day doings with each other so that we can get to know each other and at the reunion next summer it will be family who knows each other and loves each other, not just a bunch of strangers who are somehow related.