Thursday, August 7, 2008
Howdy, You All,
I was talking with my brother, Hugh, yesterday about our dad, and what a character he was. So I decided to dedicate my blog today to stories about him.
Our dad, James Campbell, was born the oldest of eight children. He was born in 1896 and they were living at the time in the Sequatchie Valley area of Tennessee. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to tell stories, quite often laughing as he told them, because they were ususally funny.
Hugh was telling me how Dad had once told him about the time our grandfather decided they would go visit his dad. I think he said Dad must have been about 7 or 8 at the time they went. So our Grandpa hitched up the horse and wagon, loaded Granny and the kids up into the wagon and took off for the visit. They traveled (very slowly, of course) for about 2 and 1/2 days, camping out each night. When they finally reached Dad's grandfather's, his dad pulled up into the yard, and hollered, "Hello, the house!". They went in, and visited that night, and then the next morning, they said good-bye, hitched up the wagon, and left, traveling back home for another 2 and 1/2 days. Dad said, in relating the story, that was the only time he ever saw his grandfather.
Dad and Mom met when Dad was about 21. He and his family were living in Loudon, and she saw him walking along and saw the sun shining on his blond hair and how handsome he was. Right then and there, she "set her cap for him".
They were married a year later, when she was seventeen, and he was twenty-two.
He since told us that he only finished eighth grade because he had to work on the farm and help his dad and mom. His dad was kind of a "jack-of-all-trades" and carpenter. His dad also liked his alcohol, and was not a great example for his sons. Some of his sons became drinkers, but my mom told my dad that if they were going to be married, he would not be touching alcohol. My dad took her at her word, and left alcohol alone. His brothers were all good hearted and eventually stopped drinking, and became good citizens.
Dad was a very sympathetic person, and often said that when he went to a funeral, that he was just another of the mourners, even when he was not personally acquainted. He felt no shame in crying, either. I never met a more kind-hearted man than my dad was.
Dad also said that when he was going to school, he always played with the girls because the boys played too rough. Of course, he liked to flirt is what it was. ha. After our Mom died in 1973, and he had time to mourn her passing, within a couple of years, ladies in the church tried to catch his attention. He said he wasn't interested in any of those OLD ladies that people tried to match him up with, he wanted to pick his own out. He never went with anyone of them though. He just liked to talk and laugh.
He liked to tell the story of a relative of his who liked to tell lies all the time. His wife was always saying that if he didn't stop lying, one day he would be struck by lightning. Well, one evening the guy was getting ready to go to bed and it was storming outside, thunder booming and lightning flashing through the windows. He had been telling some whoppers to his kids. The doors had been opened quite a bit that day, and some wasps had gotten into the house. Well, a couple of them got into the bed when he did, and when he lay down, they stung him several times. He yelled, "Burnt, and burnt bad!" and jumped up. He never lied again.
We loved hearing that story, because he would tell it and then repeat the punch line. "Burnt and burnt bad" and then just laugh. Of course we would repeat the punch line and laugh too.
Daddy loved to tease us. He would pull mom's apron strings and untie them, and she would laugh and say, "You stop that, Jim Campbell". He loved calling me "Squirt" and calling my brother, John, "Whistlebritches". His pet nicknames for us. Imazo said that he was always calling her "short stuff". (She is petite).
Once when I was about eleven, one of my sandals had a broken strap, and I had tied a string around my foot and shoe to keep it on. Dad was always telling me that my foot was just part of my leg bent down. One of my cousins asked me why I had a rag tied around my leg, Dad said, "see, I told you that your foot was just part of your leg bent down". Ha.
When dad was in his forties, he had gone to the doctor, and the doctor told him that he had a bad heart and he'd better go home and put his affairs in order, because he hadn't long left to live. Hugh said that it really shook dad up to hear that. He worried about it and didn't know what to do. He finally decided that he just had however long he had and was not going to let it affect him. It was not long after that that he and Mom decided to start looking for a farm to move to, because if we had a farm to live on, we could have food to eat if he passed away. Well, needless to say, he lived for another 36 years after the doctor pronounced his gloom and doom prediction.
My dad, although a faithful husband and father, was not a Christian until he was about fifty-four years old. When we moved to New Market and the farm, he was not a Christian. As you know, the farmer has to depend on the rain coming at the right time for the crops to succeed. When he would see the rain come and it would stop near the edge of our property and come no farther, he would stand on the porch and shake his hand at the heavens with anger. Needless to say, when he became a Christian a couple of years later, he no longer did that.
Dad has been gone now for close to twenty-nine years, but he is remembered fondly by all whose lives he touched. When my daughters and I moved to the farm to live for several years, they were his constant companions. They followed him around and watched him sharpen tools and fix things. He would sit for a long time, and let them comb his hair, and he would tease them just like he did us kids when we were growing up. They loved their Grandpa. He would pick up his hat (felt) and go outside to sit under the huge oak tree in the front yard, and they would follow him, or maybe even take his hand and walk out with him.
When dad was in his last illness and Daniel was about two years old, his mom and dad brought him to the hospital and sneaked him into the window to visit with his great grandpa. I know that meant a lot to my dad.
The picture I have posted is of Dad and Carol and Teresa taken soon after the girls and I moved to the farm. I know they might not have chosen this particular picture to post, but it is a dear one to me. It was taken on a hot day and probably about 85 degrees or more in the house. (no air conditioning). I think it probably was taken in 1961 or 62.
That is all from Blabbin' Grammy today. God bless each of you and have a great night's rest.
Bye for now.