Learning to live without a father, from generation to generation. More
Imagine, for a few moments, living life without your father. Imagine what it would feel like knowing there was never a time in your life when you could experience the touch of your father’s hand, hear the sound of his voice, look into his eyes, smell his after-shave lotion. Imagine that for a few moments, and ask yourself what your life would be like.
My father and I both knew that experience to an extent. Simple Man is a complete non-fiction/narrative novel of my father’s and my own life. My father’s parents both died when he was very young. He worked in the mines in the hills of Tennessee as a young man, joined the Army and served in World War II, came back home, married, divorced, moved out West, and spent a number of years working and living in Idaho, where he met and married my mother. From there, they moved to mining country in Wyoming, where my father was killed in a mine accident four months before I was born.
His death left my mother to raise three children on her own, including a son who had cerebral palsy and died at the age of 10. My mother remarried after my brother’s death, and there were continued hardships in that marriage with mental and physical abuse before my mother divorced her husband. Times were hard for us, but our family persevered, much as my father would have wanted.
If you were to read the lyrics and listen to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Simple Man,” you would get a glimpse of the inspiration behind my manuscript and the kind of man my father and I turned out to be. I can sense, at a young point in our separate lives, someone sat down with my father and me and gave the advice, “Be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand.” With my father, I have painted a picture of the man right down to his Southern drawl. His experiences are real, based on memories of those who knew him or simply photographs that I’ve seen through the years. As for myself, I tell of my family’s dealing with the additional death of my older brother; hardships in failed re-marriages; my struggles through depression; my battles and near-death episodes with alcohol; starting a family of my own … satisfied.