General Non-Fiction posted January 14, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
My Father comes home for Christmas

Coming home!

by junglefighter

Special Note to all my dear friends: As I write chapter and chapter, I invite you to join in. My wish, "is to make you laugh and cry, while leaving you in a state of uncertainty of what will happen next." Hope you enjoy and best wishes wherever you are.

Previously in Chapter 3: Having said that, he hugged my mother gently, wiped the tears from her face then walked away. Although we were dirt-poor, our faith in God and trust in one another, gave us courage to face the uncertainty of the difficult days ahead. I remember trying to swallow and couldn't. Tears ran down my cheeks, and I looked toward Heaven and whispered; "Please, God, make work for my father."

Chapter 4

Finding public work in an economically depressed part of Tennessee was difficult at any time. Of course, being a farmer and having lost your crop to the drought in late July made the task near impossible. With the thought in mind, I cranked up the old truck, pulled it around front, gave the wheel to my dad, and we headed out for town. Once arriving at the Unemployment Office, we found no job openings whatsoever.

"Kind of disappointing, huh, Dad?"

"It certainly is, Billy. You'll always find life full of disappointments. Remember, if the pill's too bitter to swallow, spit it out! But in the meantime don't you worry. I'll talk with Mr. Smith, and he'll help me find work, okay?"

"Okay, Dad. But remember, I'm out of school for two weeks, and if there's any way I can help, I will."

"Thanks, Son, you're my little man, and we'll talk about it later, okay?"

"Sure, Dad. I just wanted you to know that I was here for you."

Mr. Smith and his brother, Carl, owned the little farm we sharecropped, a pharmacy and jewelry store in town. Both shared similar interest and common goals. Most everyone held them in high regards because of their moral character and down to earth dispositions. Within reason, their making money was a number one priority. That's true with most of us, right? Of course it is. James, a third brother, had no interest in pills or jewelry.

After graduating from college, James started work in an automobile plant in Michigan and had risen in rank to Engineering Superintendent. That had taken a combination of strong determination and self-discipline despite the difficulties along the way. Not bad for a farm boy regardless of how you slice it. At one time I loved that phrase. Grandpa used it once, and I never forgot it. Not long ago, I tried impressing Janice by using it. She giggled then replied, "You're not talking about pie, you know?" I never used it again until now. There were times Grandpa could be so silly.

My father was only asking to work for three months until Christmas- then come home. He planned on saving back enough money to feed us, the livestock then buy seed and fertilizer for the spring planting. Keeping oil in the lamps until then, would get harder and harder. Grandpa had told me as well. "Boy, blow out the lamp when you finish your school work. That way, we save money on the oil then use it to buy food for the table."

Although he could be silly at times, he sure made sense at others. Of course, grandma would probably debate the issue. I love the word debate as well. Grandpa taught me that word and lot's more. God bless his Soul.

It was late August, and my seventh birthday was history. Mr. James Smith had agreed to hire my father for the ninety days. The working agreement was for five days a week, eight-hours per day, and the pay was $1.35 per hour, commencing the 1st of September. Although I was no expert in arithmetic, I did, however, figure out a mathematical solution of around $648.00 for the ninety days. Taking into consideration the year and economy, that much money was like finding a golden goose on an egg-laying frenzy. At least, for us it was.

My saying goodbye to Dad was heartbreaking and yet, it was financially essential for our survival through the hardship we faced. I remember well his embracing my mother, sister and myself then saying, "Our sharing the agonies and heartbreaks, while appreciating the tranquility and family unity during the hard times, shall truly bond us heart and soul."

Having said that, he smiled then disappeared among the passengers waiting to board the train. I could not remember what Grandpa had said about seven year old boy's crying in public. Oh, I remember now, he said, "Son, you ought to wait until you're out behind the barn." With that in mind, the tears would have to wait. Of course, you do understand?

The three months to follow were hard. My mother contributed to the family effort in her usual way, plus baking cookies and cakes to sell on consignment at the grocery stores. And, when not in school, my sister helped care for a disabled lady's physical, mental and general health, plus doing her regular chores. With my dad working away from home, I became the man of the house and felt responsible for my mother's and sister's welfare. Would you believe that swelled my head? Silly question, huh?

In addition to school and my regular chores, I hunted and killed wild game for our food, chopped fire for the stove, fireplace and all other things that needed doing. December finally arrived, the snow blanketed the rooftop, icicles glistened from the eaves, and, thank God, my dad was home. All things considered, sleigh bells were ringing once again. My mother and sister had worked diligently at preparing a welcome home dinner for dad and all of us. If you've ever eaten fried chicken smothered in gravy, buttermilk biscuits baked in the oven of a wood burning stove, sweet corn on the cob drowned in fresh butter, green tomatoes fried to a crisp, and then apple pie for dessert, then you can relate to our ravenous appetites. After sharing the things we all had done for the past three months, it became crystal clear that although we were dirt poor, our faith in God and trust in one another would give us courage to face the uncertainty of the difficult days ahead.
Our coming together once again had been blessed by our guardian Angel. After the day's activity, we were all exhausted and went off to bed early. My
getting to sleep was much easier now that my Dad was home to take charge, so to speak. My theatrics toward being head of the household had been a macho trip for me. Oh, you knew that anyway, didn't you? I remember counting eight sheep as they jumped the picket fence. And I watched as the ninth one leaped. Poor thing, I fell asleep before it landed and left it suspended in midair. Oh, well, I'd get it down the next night.

A "Salute!" Alveria, for the Artwork.

Continued in chapter 5



My cousin out in California is in the motion picture business. We were joined at the
hips as kids growing up in Pigeon Forge, (Dollywood) Tennessee. We are meeting
there to discuss filming a movie of my book. I'll be writing around 20-chapters, and after completing each will post them for your review.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Paul Featherstone at

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