My dad recounted the things that happened in his life with great flair. As a child I loved his stories and listened with rapt attention to every detail of his amazing adventures.
In his younger years, Dad planned to be a boxer and was actively pursuing that path. I’m extremely happy he chose a less brain-damaging career. It was because he had such a keen mind that he remembered things in detail, and he passed those memories on to his children in the form of remarkable stories.
During the Great Depression, Dad and Mom lived in Scott County, Virginia, near the Clinch River. I fell in love with that beautiful mountain area long before I ever visited there, and it was Dad’s stories that caused me to choose that unique place as the childhood home for the protagonist in my novel. No matter how many times Dad told the same stories, I was always transported to that place where, along with him, I climbed a mountainside, fished on the Clinch River, and gathered and cracked black walnuts to take to the market to sell. I could visualize the swiftly flowing, muddy water when the river flooded and feel the possessiveness of the people as they protected their little community against outsiders, of which Dad was one.
The first person other than family who read and critiqued my novel asked me when she returned it if the story is about me. The answer to that question is no, but parts of the story are “as seen through Dad’s eyes.” The descriptions of the time and place and some incidents in my novel are retellings of stories I heard as a child.
Father’s Day is Sunday, and that day always reminds me of what a wonderful father I had. Dad taught me to trust in God and live by faith, to take the hard knocks without assessing blame, to see the good in others, and to seek today to be at least one step ahead of where I was yesterday in every area of my life.
D. W. Lacy