MY FATHER’S HANDS AND HEART
By Luther K. Long
On a frosty morning in the hill country of south-eastern Ohio, a nine-year old boy with abundant black hair and dark brown eyes could be seen making his way through the brush on a hill-side pasture.
Closer observation would reveal the fact that he carried a heavy oak board, some three feet in length. At intervals he placed the board flat on the snow, and then stood upon it for the space of a minute or two. On still closer observation one could see that the boy’s hands were without mittens, and his feet without shoes.
In case the observer was familiar with the customs of the time in that region, he would readily enough conclude that the board had been heated before the open fire-place, and that the boy’s hands were kept warm while he carried it. When he placed it on the snow and stood up on it, his feet were for a time quite comfortable.
The boy was visiting his traps. The catch of rabbits and quails furnished money with which to buy school books. With good luck, he hoped to aid also in purchasing a pair of rough boots.
This was his last winter in school. He had learned to read with unusually good understanding. His ear for the sound of words was accurate and his quick sense of their meaning, together with a retentive memory, made it possible for him to profit in after years by what little education he had received.
The next summer, at the age of ten, he went out into the world to earn his living and make his own way.
This was around a hundred years ago.
That boy, many years later, became my father….
|Jackson Long (right) with his son John Plummer Long (left). Notice Jackson's hands and those great boots!|