Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gone Home

Last night we received word that my daddy went home to be with the Lord. For nine years he has struggled with transverse myelitis that paralyzed the lower half of his body. For someone who was an outdoor man, it was a hard diagnosis.  Daddy was born on April 9, 1931 to Cliff and Naomi Tankersley. He tipped the scales at 13 pounds! Life was not easy for Daddy. He lost two little sisters to diptheria and almost lost his own life to that awful disease. Then as a young boy, he had a ruptured appendix in the days when there was not a lot to do for peritonitis except to pray. My Grandmother often told of her praying for Daddy in the bathroom at the hospital. God was merciful and Daddy lived to grow into manhood. He joined the US Army and went to Japan courtesy of Uncle Sam. He was stationed at Camp McGill during the Korean Conflict. He was a Seahorse, the Army equivalent of the Navy SeaBee. He worked on the boats transporting soldiers from Japan to Korea. Arriving back home after his service he married Marjorie Henderson, a young woman he saw through the window at Mt Carmel Baptist Church. My parents  bought a 50 acre farm and raised cattle, pigs, chickens and daughters. They still live in the house that I was raised in...uncommon in this day and age. Daddy always longed for a son but he got girls. Secretly I think he liked all the attention he got from his girls. After milking his cows in the morning, he headed off for a day of work in the Chattahoochee National Forest where he marked timber for the US Forest Service. He also fought forest fires, making my little heart pound fearfully until he returned home safely.  Once home from work, we ate supper and he was out again to work his farm. He also enjoyed coon hunting with his friends. I can still remember the smell of the carbide lanterns the men carried as they headed off to hunt. Daddy had a wonderful hunting dog named Mingo. He was part black and tan coon hound and part English shepherd. He was a dear pet as well. One time when Daddy was hunting up on the mountain, Mingo did not come when he called him and we feared he was lost. Daddy went back to the area several times to look for him with no luck. About two weeks later, Daddy came in from milking and hollered for us girls to come outside. There stood Mingo. He had found his way home. We were all just loving on that sweet hound dog.  Daddy retired at 55 giving him some time to work a few hobby jobs as well as take care of his farm full time. He enjoyed his grandchildren...he was a doting grandfather who paid who knows how much to take all three of my children to a fishing pond so they could catch a fish. Daddy finally got his boys with the birth of Ben and Charles. But Amelia was the rose between two thorns. He also planted cotton one year so the grands could see what it looked like. He took them for rides on the tractor and he looked forward to the week in summer when all the Grimm Grands descended on the farm. Then when my children were older, Laura, my niece was born and she was just icing on the cake for my daddy.  If he loved his grandchildren, he really loved those great grands. He had pictures in his bedroom of all of them and was sure to point them out to visitors. He and his brother, Robert, had a friendly rivalry over who had the cutest great grandchildren.  Over the last year, Daddy's health began to decline. We never knew what the day might hold. I am so glad that I was there last weekend to say good bye to my Daddy. His last words to me were I love You.  A precious memory that I will always carry with me.  I could not end this blog without mentioning my mother who has faithfully cared for my Daddy these last nine years. Mother meant it when she vowed in sickness and in health. She was an excellent nurse and it was her desire for Daddy to be at home in the midst of his family. It has not always been easy, many days were very hard but the grace of God carried her through.  I hope I can leave a legacy to my children as great as the one my parents left to me.


Anonymous said...

An excellent eulogy for your dad. While I never met him, I could tell he was a man to be admired from your comments. It is a shame for all your grands to miss being around him. Our parents' generation is one of a kind and I see very few people/parents/grandparents currently that measure up to that standard of person. Our parents and grandparents did not give us everything under the sun; they could not afford to and I hate that the simple but firmly loving heritage seems to be becoming lost. Love you!

Dewilla Hooper said...

Arlene, I know your heart is hurting, and I am sad for that. We are all joyful, though, to know in our hearts that your Daddy is in heaven now, free of pain and suffering and able to walk those streets of gold! Our mountain men Daddys are definitely a rare breed, and they are a model of greatness and loving kindness that all men should follow and emulate. I wish for a calming peace to come over you all, as you go through the coming days.

Mrs.T said...

Such a beautiful post about your Daddy's life, Arlene! And so comforting that he is with the Lord. Thank you for taking the time to write about the kind of man that he was. Very few people today have the kind of character we see in the older folks like him.