happy birthday, papa

Posted on January 9th, 2011 by mountain girl  |  9 Comments »

In the book of unsung heroes, I think he will have a paragraph…or maybe his own chapter.

My Papa has always marched to the beat of a different drum. He and Mama have 11 kids, all born at home. The first 2 of us were born with a midwife present, for the third one Papa had a helper, and with the last 8 he flew solo. He even coached David when Zia was born at home…we decided his resume was pretty good.

Once my siblings and I were born, it was all…well, uphill from there. My mom homeschooled us up until college, so Papa, of course, brought home the bacon. He’s a farrier, and he has always come home sweaty and stinky. Like, drenched in sweat. Shoeing horses isn’t exactly a picnic in the park. After he came home and cleaned up, he tackled our toughest math problems with us…and explained them all the way through, until somehow the fog cleared, and we understood, at least for a moment, the warbled language of mathematics.

In the 80’s, he was taken to court for not having us in a registered school (the state of North Carolina had no law either for or against homeschooling; it had never been addressed before.) So he fought in court for four years for us (it went all the way to the Supreme Court), and he won. Because of that case (Larry Delconte v. the State of North Carolina), homeschooling became legal in North Carolina. Is that a cheer I hear rising from all you NC homeschoolers?

He always made life good for us kids. Our birthdays brought sleds and wagons, bikes and dollhouses (a pink unicycle on my 12th birthday), baby chicks and ducks, goats, lambs, and once even a pony. And hundred-dollar-bills when we outgrew the toys and animals.

When I gave him 3 days’ notice that I was getting married, he got ordained and married us himself. That’s pretty good way to give your consent, I think.

Papa (right) and David

He raised us to love God, to always speak the truth, to earn your pay fair and square, that a job worth doing is worth doing twice. I still rip out all my knitting when I find a mistake; the project always comes out better the second time anyway.

And though this story isn’t his alone (behind every great man is a greater you-know-what) he is the leader in it, and he tried always to let God be his leader.

Happy Birthday, Papa!

9 Responses to “happy birthday, papa”

  1. tracy martin says on :

    Wow! What a wonderful man. it seems that God has given you a double dose of blessings with the men in your life! Praise God!

  2. Rae LaShomb says on :

    this is a tear jerker! but all very true

  3. Rae LaShomb says on :

    I forgot to tell you on the phone, I called you yesterday to say hi,but it went to vm again…don’t know if that is still your number.

    Anyways, I saved the number you just called me from so I have it:)

  4. 3 amigos says on :

    hi honeee…………..what a NICE story. Makes us feel pretty close to your Papa………..and happy and humble. This story made my day 🙂 luv u/mom

  5. mountain girl says on :

    Thanks, Mom! Someday you guys will meet…hopefully before you’re all GREAT-grandparents!

  6. leah says on :

    What a wonderful summation of all things a father should be. His integrity and godliness is evidenced in your life and that makes for one proud papa, I’m sure. Such a refreshing post.

  7. Lauren says on :

    Looks like you have a great dad

  8. Mimi says on :

    Hi my little Red…..I warned him before he sat down to read this- about what a tear-jerker it is…..I heard him say it sure was a tear-jerker then he somehow disappeared for a little bit. It all sounds SO familiar! Especially the Math! Love, Mama

  9. Kait says on :

    A book should be written about him. I am seriously blown away by his short bio here. Wow. What an amazing man he must be!