Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Dream

Charles E. Walker - Taken just a few months before I was born.
My father was born during the heart of the Great Depression in the hills of Tennessee. He lost his mother when he was barely two years old after she gave birth to his baby sister Omah.  The death of his mother left his father with the burden of raising five children – one infant and a toddler - while trying to carve out a living in the harsh environment of a Tennessee lumber mill. In a time when there wasn’t any daycares, televisions, or video games to keep the children occupied while he worked from sun up to sun down, my grandfather made the decision to give his newborn daughter up for adoption and send the rest of the children away to live with various relatives and friends - a decision of contested debate amongst our family.

I’m sure that decision weighed on my grandfather heavily the rest of his life, but like all of us, sometimes life forces you to make tough decisions, and being human we don’t always make the best choices. I believe in my heart my grandfather did what he thought was best for the children. I can only imagine how hard that choice must have been.

My father was sent off to live with his uncle, my grandfather’s brother. There, my father told me he endured a great deal of abuse and neglect for many years. He would tell me stories of how his uncle beat him and made him work in the fields from dawn to dusk as a child. When he was old enough to do a man’s work, he was taken out of school to work the farm every day. My father’s academic career ended before he could complete the 7th grade.

He had a hard life, but it never stopped him from dreaming.

It never stopped him from believing he could accomplish anything he set out to do, even though people repeatedly told him he couldn’t. Despite his lack of education and his rough and rugged upbringing, my father accomplished a great deal in his life. He was a whiz at math. When I was in elementary school he developed a horse betting system based on numbers and formulas that he sold nationwide. When I was in junior high he invented a camera that could take pictures from different angles and blend them together instantly. Shortly after that, he sat down and wrote a complete murder mystery novel. When I was in high school he taught himself how to program a computer, and would write code that often times left me speechless. When I was grown and out of the house my father developed a script for a movie idea he had. His passion to never give up his dreams now lives on in me.

This day marks a monumental step in my life. Today, I have submitted my first entry to a publishing company. It marks the beginning of fulfilling a dream I’ve had of becoming a published author. While I expect there will be many rejection letters in my future, I will have my father with me in spirit to help me endure the lashes and whelps as I pursue this dream.

My father taught me many things, but the one thing he taught me above all was to never stop dreaming. Never stop believing in yourself even when others have. This is why I have chosen today, Father’s Day, to begin this quest in honor of him – pursuing reality one dream at a time.

This is for you Dad.

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

Tell me about some of your dreams. Have you set it  things in motion to pursue them? What are some of nuggets of wisdom or character traits your father has pass down to you. I want to hear them!

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