Public markets will continue to go up and down, businesses will continue to thrive or not based on the relevance of the products and services, and negative headlines will continue to attract viewers and listeners. This week, let’s talk about something else.
View of tallgrass prairie in wintrer
photo by John Kennington
Clifford was born in November 1913, in a farmhouse built in a pasture of bluestem prairie grass. He was the youngest boy in a family of eight, seven of whom, in something of a miracle for the times, lived to adulthood. He rode his pony to town to attend school, played on the high school basketball team, and in 1931, became the first in his family to graduate from high school.
This girl Pauline, they called her Polly, had caught his eye and in December 1933, they married in a small ceremony at his parent’s home. Between February of 1935 and December 1940 their three children, Joyce, Harvey, and John, were born.
The Great Depression was a tough time to be getting started in life. Fortunately for Cliff, his father-in-law, Bill, was a supervisor for the railroad, so Cliff was able to get work to support his family.
In ’43, at the age of 30 and with three children at home, Cliff was drafted, shipped to Ft. Lewis, Washington, and then on to the Philippines. By 1946 he was home, though during his absence, son Harvey had picked up scarlet fever, which led to rheumatic heart disease. In 1952, at age 13, Harvey passed, creating a hole that lasted for life.
| Pictures from the family of Orville Presley, |
Battery A/124th Field Artillery Battalion
Cliff was my mom’s dad, and one of my heroes in life. Two stories he shared included one about waking up after falling asleep on the ground in the Philippines, to find a big lizard crawling over him.
The other story was, during Harvey’s illness, owing money to everyone he knew because Harvey’s medicine took almost his entire paycheck. After the war, they kept milk cows. Grandpa would skim the cream, store it in five gallon containers, and then take the cream to town to trade. On one trip, something spooked the horses, and one of the two containers of cream tipped over. Grandpa said he cried, as the cream was so valuable to them as a trading commodity.
I could fill a book with the lessons I learned from him, or the things he taught me. Among the things I learned from him was how to bait and set a fishing hook, how to handle guns, how to pitch horseshoes, how to use power tools and how to make ice cream in a hand cranked ice cream maker. More though, he taught me how to treat a lady and by example, how to care for family, how to live and finally, how to die.
Many of us have been given the gift of someone like this in our lives, whether a parent, a grandparent, another relative or simply someone who took an interest in us and helped show us the way. Who were these people for you? Are they still living, such that you can thank them? If you haven’t had the gift of someone like this, could you be this person to someone else?
We stand, as John of Salisbury said, on the shoulders of giants and to them we owe a debt of gratitude, for what they have given us and what they have poured into our lives. It is easy for us, then, to agree with the ancient poet who said, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
Quote of the week:
“It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.”