After the accident, Dad was reluctant to play the mandolin. He felt that he could not play as well as he had before the accident. When I came home on leave and asked him to play he would make excuses for why he couldn't play. Eventually, we would wear him down and he would say "Okay, but remember, I can't hold down on the strings the way I used to" or "Since the accident to this finger I can't play as good". For the family it didn't make any difference that Dad couldn't play as well. We were just glad that he would play. When he played the old mandolin it would carry us back to a cheerful, happier time in our lives. "Davey, Davey Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier", would again be heard in the little town of Bakerton, West Virginia.
In August of 1993 my father was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He chose not to receive chemotherapy treatments so that he could live out the rest of his life in dignity. About a week before his death, we asked Dad if he would play the mandolin for us. He made excuses but said "okay". He knew it would probably be the last time he would play for us. He tuned up the old mandolin and played a few notes. When I looked around, there was not a dry eye in the family. We saw before us a quiet humble man with an inner strength that comes from knowing God, and living with him in one's life. Dad would never play the mandolin for us again. We felt at the time that he wouldn't have enough strength to play, and that makes the memory of that day even stronger. Dad was doing something he had done all his life, giving. As sick as he was, he was still p