By Martha Williams

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. My Dad passed away back in ‘83, at 66. I didn’t know him well, because he left us when I was 5, and my sister Mary and I were raised by his parents. Yet he is the reason I am here now. Back in ‘75, my husband did a search and found him here, in Smith River. We came out to get acquainted, and fell in love with this part of the country.

For Mary and I, the father-figure as we grew up was his father, a Welsh immigrant. Both our paternal grandparents came from Wales in the very early 1900’s. Our grandfather, called “Taid” ( pronounced tide, welsh for Grandpa) was a wonderful, caring man.

We didn’t, however, know a lot about him other than he came from Wales and was a stone cutter. When the relatives came from Utica, they spoke Welsh, thinking their conversations had nothing worth being heard by the kids. Otherwise, English was spoken at all times.

Recently, a third cousin back east has been digging into the family ancestry, and it has been quite interesting.

When he came, he had had worked in the slate quarries in Wales.

With six sons to raise, he used the skills he had learned about stone-cutting, and built a business making gravestones, beautiful ones people came from all over to order. He was a terrific artist in stone, at one point incurring our grandmother’s wrath clipping leaves from her prized ivy to use as patterns.

But that’s all we knew.

We learned from the new information he had been one of 12 children, many of whom also came here, mostly settling around Utica, N.Y.

And now I have to dislike my name a bit less. I have had quite a dislike for it as an adult, as so many books, movies, TV shows, etc...whenever there was a wacky old aunt or stupid female character, her name was always Martha. Oh, I had respect in the knowledge it was a solid Bible name, of course. But now that has help. Turns out Taid’s mother’s name was Martha. They never told me that.

If you are still blessed enough to have your father or grandfather still living, be sure to let then know how much they mean to you. The “Grandfathers” in my life now are my sons, who will be celebrating their birthdays and Father’s Day together. Born a year and two days apart, on June 16 and 18, their birthdays bracket Father’s Day this year. And Tim, born on the 18th, was actually born on Father’s Day.

Tuesday. AGLOW will meet in the recreation room at Summer Park apartments from noon to 2 p.m. Finger food is welcome. There will be praise and prayer, and a special treat will be a DVD by Graham Cooke entitled “Game Changers.” For questions, call Ann at 707-457-2318.

There are two VBS programs scheduled thus far.

Church of the Nazarene, June 18 -21, 9 a.m. to noon. Space is limited, to register call Lynn Wheeler at 925-413-1044.

Next is Grace Lutheran, June 25 – 29, also 9 a.m. to noon. “Rolling River Rampage” is for kids age 4 through sixth grade. Call 707-464-4712 to preregister.

And it’s that time of year again, so we all need to be more watchful as we drive through town on our daily errands. When school is out, the kids are out playing, and don’t always pay attention to what’s going on around them – and those skateboards can move pretty fast.

To contact Martha Williams, call 707-460-3000, or email watchnwait@charter.net .

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