Dad loved to play the mandolin for his family he knew we enjoyed singing, and hearing him play. He was like that. If he could give pleasure to others, he would, especially his family. He was always there, sacrificing his time and efforts to see that his family had enough in their life. I had to mature into a man and have children of my own before I realized how much he had sacrificed.
I joined the United States Air Force in January of 1962. Whenever I would come home on leave, I would ask Dad to play the mandolin. Nobody played the mandolin like my father. He could touch your soul with the tones that came out of that old mandolin. He seemed to shine when he was playing. You could see his pride in his ability to play so well for his family.
When Dad was younger, he worked for his father on the farm. His father was a farmer and sharecropped a farm for the man who owned the property. In 1950, our family moved from the farm. Dad had gained employment at the local limestone quarry. When the quarry closed in August of 1957, he had to seek other employment. He worked for Owens Yacht Company in Dundalk, Maryland and for Todd Steel in Point of Rocks, Maryland. While working at Todd Steel, he was involved in an accident. His job was to roll angle iron onto a conveyor so that the welders farther up the production line would have it to complete their job. On this particular day Dad got the third index finger of his left hand mashed between two pieces of steel. The doctor who operated on the finger could not save it, and Dad ended up having the tip of the finger amputated. He didn't lose enough of the finger where it would stop him picking up anything, but it did impact his ability to play the mandolin.