Remembering my father

  • Friday, June 13, 2014

To the Editor:

Frank J. Harrelson Sr., known by the mill personnel as “Big Frank” was my dad.

Daddy has been gone now for the past 20 years and he was the reason for my success in life.

I learned at an early point in my childhood that you do not always judge a man by the degrees behind his name; but more importantly, the most clear sign of a man is integrity, honor, honesty and a real love for his family and friends. This was such the man my dad was.

Grown up in Georgetown, Dad worked at International Paper Company as did so many others that we knew.

Never, in all my years at home did I hear my father dreading to go to work.

We could set our clocks at home by the sound of Dad’s feet hitting the floor about 6:15 a.m., getting ready for the mill on time at 7 a.m.

I remember Dad having the flu one year and after a visit to Dr. John Assey, the doctor said, “Frank go home for three days and give the medicine time to work for you.” Daddy replied, “Dr. I have a family to work for, I will be okay” and off to work Dad returned.

Security is important to children and I never was afraid when I was with Dad.

Never did I wonder where my next meal was coming from or if I would have a clean, comfortable place to live. Dad was a hard worker and he loved to work for his family.

Since Dad had to leave his mother’s home at a early age to work, Dad saw the importance of seeing that me, my sister, and my brother receive our education.

I remember one summer I was working the summer shift at International Paper Company which was a program that they provided for employee college bound children.

One day Dad came by the finishing room at the end of #2 paper machine and said, “Son don’t worry about going back to college, I have your tuition money in my pocket and everything is fine!”

That was Dad. He was a planner and it seemed that he always had things worked out before the situation got out of hand. Dad had a much “cooler” head that I have. He loved life and he loved Mother and us three children.

I never remember him regretting anything he didi for us. We were just a blessed family living on South Island Road who had one of the greatest men for our father. Daddy also had many friends and they all meant so much to him.

Daddy loved to laugh but never did like things being said about people. I loved him so dearly that it did not matter that he was in his 70s and I was a young man.

I hugged him and I did not mind kissing him on the check when I wanted to. I am glad I did it!

Too much stress and social changes have caused the family to lose so much of the love that used to be present. Christmas was always Dad’s time.

Mother always was the best cook and we all enjoyed her wonderful dishes. Every Thanksgiving Dad would bring someone home with him from the mill to share Thanksgiving Day dinner.

These folks were always welcomed at Mother’s table. Christmas time was special too. Daddy always wanted Mother to make a “Lottie Lane” Christmas cake and boy was that good.

After Dad would eat and we children might be still sitting around the Christmas table, Dad would sit in the den in his favorite chair telling us to “eat plenty and enjoy!”

Dad I sure do miss you. I always got to sit next to Dad on the left side of the dining room table. I always enjoyed getting a rise out of Dad only for him to tell me to “behave son.”

After the Christmas dinner, Dad wanted us to open Christmas gifts one at a time so he could see what everyone got and see the reaction of everyone and hoping that everyone got what they wanted.

I would give anything to have another one of those moments, but time marches on.

If Dad could hear me, I would say, “Daddy you were the greatest man I ever knew in my life.

Thank you for all your hard work, love and most of all the heritage of a life lived well.

See you in the big House!

Frank (Buddy) Harrelson Jr.

Georgetown and

Vidalia, GA

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