Our step-dad, affectionally called Papa Bill, enjoyed communicating with all of his children and grandchildren who lived in various regions throughout the world. It wasn’t unusual to find in our mailboxes after a long day at work, envelopes stuffed with silly cartoons and pictures of kittens doing crazy things. He definitely knew how to cheer the weary soul.
However, he was infamous for his 5:30 a.m. phone calls. It may have been 5:30 a.m. for those of us on the West Coast, but it was already 8:30 a.m. in Georgia which is Southern for “time to go to work”. Having grown up on a Texas cotton farm during the Depression, his clock said the day was half over. His greeting always started with, “Good Afternoon!” And trust me, you never, I mean never, sounded groggy or irritated that you had been woken up early (even if it was on the weekend) before the obligatory triple shots of Starbucks, or you would be treated to an even earlier phone call the next week.
While rummaging through boxes stored away from their big cross country move a few years ago, my sister found this letter addressed to her and my brother-in-law Dick who, at the time it was written, lived in rural Kennewick, Washington. They had horses and lots of pasture and, of course, the necessary barns.
The eastern part of the Washington State is known for numerous horse ranches, endless sky, and expansive farmland. This is where you will find your best cherries and apples – sorry Michigan – and asparagus and potatoes – sorry, Idaho. Many of the best wines come from that region, too. Which may be another reason some of the residents of the Pacific Northwest will argue California is mostly unnecessary.
This letter was typical of Papa’s view on life. Laugh. Love. Now get to work!
It is copied below word for word, showing typos, missing punctuation, added consonants, et.al. He would have claimed certain amount of skill was required to type on his treasured typewriter (errors be damned) which is now in the care of his great grandchildren.
It is unknown why he didn’t type the last line. I like to think it was to prove he still mastered pen and ink and was not going to be overshadowed by any technology monster of tomorrow, be it typewriter or computer.
Sat 23 Jan 99
I am always thinking of your welfare; therefore, enclosed is a copy of the GA Farmers and Consumer Market Bulletin. I thought you may want to know what to do if your horse is stolen. Granted this advice is for GA, but it could apply to WA. Now if your horse is stolen and you can’t find it you may want to go into another hobby. For example how about pigs. You have a barn and they like barns. Page 5 has a list of pigs for sale.
On the other hand you may rather go for goats and sheep. Now goats will cleans(sic) all the weeds, cans and shrubby(sic), but the billy goats stink. Therefore, why not try for sheep. They do like the cold weather in Kennewick and you can take them to the mountains in summer. Also you can shear the wool and in winter you can make wool socks. Another profitable hobby is poultry. Now you can use the barn and of course they like trees. The price of eggs makes this hobby interesting (you will need to build nest for the eggs and of course someone has to gather the eggs each day — they spoil in summer and freeze in winter. There is one other hobby you may be interested in and that is rabbits. Now rabbits are good to eat. You can dress them out and hand (sic) them out on a line in winter and you have food. This will require building cages.
I did not list catfish farming – cause you don’t have a lake.
Here is some gossip:
The quality of life is in the mind, not in material. The world is filled with beauty when your heart is filled with love. We grow because we struggle, we learn and we overcome. Goodness is the only investment that never fails. Live every day of your life as though you expect to live forever. Don’t believe in miracles – depend on them. Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much. Cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, live today. Be not simply good, but good for something. To desire is to obtain, to aspsire is to achieve. Happiness is not pleasure – it is victory. To have character is to be big enough to take life on.
Now I think this is enough because as the day lengthens, the cold strengthens.
I love both of you. By-the-way if Dick gets fed up with Realestate he may want to go into farming and there are some good buys in the Bulletin.
I did this on my 1972 Smith Corona typewriter/computer. Bill