The Canary

    My Father was many people to me.  He was a storyteller sharing his extraordinary boyhood and family with us kids.  He was a farmer, loving the earth and its beauty, and battling the elements to wring a living for his family form the earth.  He was an inventive mechanic, conservationist, stringent with the earth’s bounty, caring for the soil, saving and reusing.  “There’s only so much of this earth, we must use it wisely, ” he said again and again.
    He was passionately a home and family man, telling us over and over that a home and family are the most important things in the world.  He said people must work for them and appreciate them.  He was a musician, teaching, directing, playing trumpet and violin.  He made music for the small world of Seaforth to enjoy.
    He would not have understood feminism, but he appreciated what women gave to the world.  “They make a home.” That said it all.
    He was overly protective of is daughters.  He worried about our drowning in the shallow creek.  We weren’t allowed to have a horse to ride because we might fall off and be hurt.  And a cow once kicked my older sister Fern while she was milking, so farm chores were not part of our duties after that.
    Dad sometimes showed a controlled anger when machinery broke down or when a few clouds broke their promise with rain in Seaforth but not on our thirsty fields.  But I remember only once seeing him break into a violent fury.  It was during the depression, and a cat got into the house and knocked down the canary cage and ate the canary.  Dad was so angry he took after the cat with a pitchfork and stabbed it.  Afterward he explained his anger.  “That bird was the only perfectly happy thing in these hard times.”