I don't do Father's Day and Mother's Day any more. It's been ten years this past Febuary since I bought a Father's day or Mother's day present. I still miss it. But I know exactly what I would buy for my Dad this Father's Day if he were still here. He would love it, and he would share it with every one in town. Maybe you've seen it advertised in all the sale circulars the past few week's. It's called Big Mouth Billy Bass. It consist of a fish , I'm assuming it's a bass, mounted on a plaque made of wood or plastic and when it's turned on it sings. It's head mouth and tail moves in time with the music, if you can call it music. I believe it is about the ugliest, tackiest thing I've ever seen. I rest my case, my Dad would have loved it. Mother would have too, they were avid fishermen. Notice, I didn't say they would have thought it beautiful or tastefull, I just said they would have loved it, there's a difference. They loved everything, and everyone, thus every one near loved them. Maybe I can't give my Dad a Big Mouth Billy Bass plaque. That doesn't mean I can't give him a different kind of present. Something he would like just as well, maybe even better. This is for you Dad!!!!
He went to Michigan once, in the summer of '28. His best friend (Fred, I think his name was) had some kin living in Flint who had found work in a factory that manufactured automobile parts. They wrote glowing letters home about the jobs available and all the money they were making, a dollar an hour to start[Now, she says, she is thinking it was $2.00]. There weren't any jobs around home so he borrowed some money from Grandpa and he and Fred took off for Michigan.
Sure enough, they found jobs right away. They stayed with Fred's relative's a week until they got paid, then found a room at a boarding house near where they worked, board and two meals a day for five dollars a week each. There was even an indoor bathroom shared by several other boarders.
He sent home the money he had borrowed plus a little extra, even managed to save some . Couldn't believe his luck when he got a raise after only being there a month. A dollar and twenty five cent an hour sounded like a fortune. But Flint was a lonely, dirty, factory town, crowded with strangers and he was homesick, so after nearly three months, when it began to rain and turn cold, and they began to hear how throughly miserable Michigan winters could be, Fred packed up and headed for a warmer climate. That's when he made the decision to go home to Alabama. He hitchhiked, caught a freight now and then and finally got back home with a few dollars in his pocket. Said he got lucky right away and found a job in the cotton mill. Soon after that he met Mother and they were married that next summer.
Never left Opp, Alabama again he'd say with a chuckle, and grin to himself, as if he knew a big secret. Oh, he would visit us children once in a great while, two of my sisters live in Georgia and he could go and come in one day. He even came to see me in Tennessee, twice, once in Nashville and again in White Bluff. That took a little more time and I knew what a special effort it was. I also knew it was because he needed to see me in my surroundings so he could picture me here. I also knew and understood that he couldn't wait to get back home to his old rocker on the front porch. There, he and Mother would sit day after day, side by side talking and dozing, weather permitting, watching their little world go by. As soon as the days grew shorter and cooler they would move inside to their easy chairs in front of the television and watch the "soaps". Just passing the time away until some of us would call or come home to visit. I'm happy to say this was fairly often.
At intervals over the years I would ask him about his trip to the big city, because I knew he liked to tell about it. He would repeat it nearly word for word every time, as though he wanted to hear it himself. I would watch his face as he talked and I could see that far away look in his gentle blue eyes, that's where the real story was, while he was telling his story he was a young man again, with a young man's dreams, his whole life before him. And just for a little while the years would fall away and I knew he was wondering what his life might have been like had he not come back home those many years ago. No regrets mind you, at least that's what I would like to believe. Just wondering.