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His father, Joseph K., passed away from a heat stroke back in 1940.
Maybe Dad got it from his Mom’s side, from her Lengacher blood. And I feel a tremendous sense of respect and pride. He was alone a lot, because you have to be, in your head, to really write.
In defense of the Amish way of life, he cranked out voluminous amounts of words, from all the way back in his youth. They were never successful, at least not outside the boundaries of their immediate communities. With an editor and columnists and stories and serious historical research, and such. In the end, I guess, my father was a man as he walked through life. A figure so vast in my world that it seems futile to try to express it. A world where others take you by the hand and lead you to a place where you may or may not want to go. This little foray was exactly that, back a few months ago. But Amish rules aren’t necessarily based on reason. And as for shaving your upper lip, well, there’s this little story from one fine Sunday morning, before my time.
Then he cared for her with gentle tenderness, desperately, eagerly, like a child trying to make up for past wrongs. I look at all that unflinchingly and acknowledge his failures. And writing was the true passion and purpose of his life. Sure, there were wild-eyed Amish guys here and there over the years, guys who cranked out a little rag of some kind. One of these years, it will be the last time his birthday is celebrated. Dad, I know you are on the sad height of a lonely world. And you don’t even realize the moment for what it is. I’ve always been a rough and tumble guy from a real plain place in the country. And looking back, it makes perfect sense, what they were saying. There is no rational reason to say a beard is biblical, but a mustache isn’t.
He had come to check out the heifers that were for sale.
He had to come from a hard place, too, I always figured. Ayr, Indiana, and they moved to Nappanee after they got married.
He walked the path, he walked the road that he believed was the right one. And he sacrificed his own desires to do what he felt was best for his family.
And where it counted, he wanted what was best for his children, his sons and daughters. You forgot to shave.” My father generally remained calm under such an outburst as that.
And no, he didn’t treat Mom the best, on that road. That took guts, it took courage, and it took a bucket load of faith. I can’t say this for sure, but I’ve often thought it. He didn’t connect easily or deeply with a lot of people. But at a heart level, I think it was very hard for him to connect with people. I know you remember life from long ago, and look back fondly on the days of your youth. I know the road has been long, and rough in places. (That, and maybe those awful barn-door pants the menfolk wear. He wore a white shirt under his suitcoat, I’m sure.
And Dad threw all he had, all his energy and drive and talent, into making the venture work. I have always admired him tremendously for pursuing his vision. He could jive and laugh and bow and scrape for a sale right with the best and brightest. Or to commemorate the milestone he is about to observe. A world of loss and pain, where all but one or two of your peers are gone. The horse and buggy is the most visible symbol of that fact. Dad had hitched up his horse and was trundling his family off to church.