Saturday, July 16, 2005

Happy Birthday Billie G

In just a few hours my Daddy will be 74 years young. I know that 'cuz I can do the math from 1931 to the present. Heh..I may be blonde, but I ain't dumb. He was born way back when in Mississippi and his family migrated up here to West Tennessee where he grew up as a Future Farmer of America. And what a farmer he's been!
stafford family This is him with the fam back in the day. He had 3 sisters, two of which are still living and love him to death. HIS daddy was a sharecropper

My favorite story about Daddy and the sisters is when he broke his arms falling out of a barn loft....both of 'em. Poor thang got his every need tended to by a gaggle of girls for as long as the casts were on. Can you imagine the humiliation for a young boy??

His day job was with the USDA tracking crop bugs. Boll weevil and Japanese beetle were in my vocabulary early on. Much later, closer to retirement, he traveled to Key West and other ports to meet the "boat people" and inspect their treasures for plant pests. His dream has always been in his alternative lifestyle, though.

Since I was a baby, he's been the manager of the farm where we live. It's a virtual paradise of wildlife hiding among the hills and low spots surrounded by a muddy river that feeds the land. Floods and droughts come and go, depending on mother nature. That's a gamble that farmers take when they embrace the dream of growing stuff.

I've written about him many times, most recently here . One time I wrote an essay nominating him as a Great American. We didn't win that one. Or maybe we did.