In Renegade Writers Guild, one of our prompts was to write about how we were either different or the same as one of our parents. I was fortunate to have two very loving and supportive parents, and this essay is in no way meant to distract from my sweet mother. However, I am definitely my father’s daughter in more ways than one!
“Slick” Hartley, my dad, was tall, thin, and had blue eyes and sandy-colored hair. I was his only child, and although I understand that he wanted a boy, when I was born with red hair, all was right in his world.
He was an excellent teacher. He taught me to read by reading to me daily. He taught me to love God by reading the Bible and praying daily. He taught me to respect all people by doing it himself. When I was in high school, he taught me geography because I did not understand it in class. He was highly intelligent, and in another era, would have gone to college and been a professional person.
When I was in high school, he won a seat on the Mocksville Town Board, a position that he held for fourteen years or seven terms. During that time I realized the importance of public service to others and also his devotion to it. He did not seem to mind the many hours that he spent talking to constituents on the phone. It never mattered to him whether he was talking to an important person or just a regular Joe; they were all the same to him.
He was also a charter member of the Mocksville Lions Club and was passionate about helping people in our area access glasses and other services. He spent many Saturdays with other Lions building ramps for people who were handicapped. I never really understood the scope of his good deeds until his death in 1985 when Gordon Tomlinson, the editor of the Enterprise at that time, wrote an impressive editorial about him and the things he did.
Now that I am older than he was when he passed on to glory, and I can verify that youth is indeed wasted on the young. I can only hope that he knew how much I admired him. I think he would have been proud of my service on the Davie County Board of Education and my written genealogy of his family.
More by Linda Barnette.