Birthdays are wonderful, in fact they are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most birthdays live the longest! So today, April 29, 2013, I want to honor my father on his 79th birthday. Many of you know that he was a very sick man this past winter and spent 54 days in the hospital with a rare form of double pneumonia. I distinctly remember a conversation my sisters and I had while sitting in his hospital room one cold dreary day. We planned a birthday bash for him. Talking about his birthday when he was so sick gave us “hope for the promise of Springtime!” I love family pictures, so I decided to let these pictures tell the story as I pay tribute to my dad on his birthday today.
The story of my father began with these two people – his parents, my grandparents – Miss Mary Ruth Thomas and Thomas Daniel Maloy. This picture is from August 1913. My father was the 9th of their 11 children. Life was hard for many of that generation as they lived through the Great Depression. They even suffered the loss of two children the same week in 1918 during the great flu pandemic. Little Henry who was 5 months old, and Bessie who was 3 years old. Can you even imagine the pain of that heartache? Of the 11 Maloy children, there were 8 daughters and 3 sons. Eufaula, Henry, Bessie, Mildred, Sue, Jimmy, Marie, Ilene, Tom, Jackie, and Joel.
I always loved hearing my dad’s sisters talk about my dad, who they claimed was carried around on a pillow until he was about 3 years old! The “blessed boy” was born April 29, 1934…after 6 girls in a row! He was a cute little fella. He said life consisted of lots of hard work around the farm and not much time for play! His father was a farmer and also worked in the cotton mill. He grew peanuts and cotton. Here is Dad in his bibb overalls – a school picture!
This picture of my father and his sisters and younger brother and mother was made in the summer of 1981. My aunts could tell some stories! This is Aunt Jimmie Lou, Uncle Joel, Granny, Aunt Eufaula, Dad, Aunt Mildred, Aunt Sue, and Aunt Ree (Marie).
I recently visited Porterdale and took a picture of the old cotton mill where my grandfather and most of my dad’s sisters worked. They are turning the mill into loft apartments now. But back then it was a source of revenue for many many people.
My father joined the USMC as a young man and became a Career Marine. He served his country faithfully and had several assignments to Vietnam. We are all very proud of his military career. He retired as a Marine Captain. We lived all over and moved about every 3 years. His last duty station was in beautiful Hawaii. Then he came home and went back to college and opened up a very successful heating and air conditioning business. He was always a wonderful provider. In the early days he worked 2 and 3 jobs to support our family. We never lacked for anything, especially LOVE!
I found this rare picture I had not seen before of my dad with his parents. His father passed away when he was 21 years old, so this was made not too long after he had been in the Marine Corps. (That is my cousin Renee in front of Granny Maloy, daughter of my Aunt Jimmie Lou.)
One of the best decisions of his entire life was marrying a beautiful young woman, Miss Lois Boozer! I love this picture of them from the mid-1950s. They married November 23, 1956. They are the best parents four daughters could ever have.
One of the things my Dad loves to do is cook – here he is doing what he does best…”doctoring up” whatever he finds on the stove! Some of his early jobs as a young man involved cooking in restaurants – he is really a fine chef!
Dad is also known for his wonderful Brunswick Stew. It is a Southern recipe that he is passing down by teaching my son Jonathan how to make it from scratch. He said tonight it was time to make some stew! Former Governor Sonny Perdue is a family friend and he is “encouraging” dad to make some soon!
I found this old photo of the “Maloy Reunion Days” in Newton County, Georgia, at the old Salem Church campground. There is a big black pot of Brunswick stew being made in this picture too (see the man in the white shirt in the middle of the picture stooped down stirring). The tradition continues.
My dad is a great golfer – at one time he had a scratch handicap. He played in many tournaments and I believe could have “turned pro” if he’d had the time and money back in the day. Actually…he shot an 82 today! This is a familar scene…
This is the Tom Maloy family prior to weddings and grandchildren, and now greatgrandchildren…circa 1976, with Dad, Phyllis Jean, Mom, Patricia Joan, Pamela Jan, and Peggy Jo. We were the four “PJ” girls.
Dad and his girls…minus Jean, daughter number two, who went to Heaven July 19, 1985. This is me, Joan, and Jo with our parents.
We moved to the country with my parents six years ago and we love it so much. I love having them next door. Dad has done so much here, taking a “blank canvas of 80 acres” and planning and building barns by himself…a special barn for the cows and another barn for the hay he has been raising. Even this past week he was busy planting grass around the pond with the help of my husband. Dad is the hardest working man I know. He is especially proud of this antique John Deere tractor he bought – he loves to crank it and “listen to it run…”
There really is NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and we were so thankful to the Good Lord for Dad coming home from the hospital – back to his home that he loves so dearly, to his best girl – Dixie the Dachsund, and to the family he loves and has taken care of all these years…
The day dad came back to church after being out for almost 4 months was so special – he was welcomed with a sign from his wonderful Sunday School class led by Darwin & Lynn Peacock. He is loved by all and always has a pocketful of chocolate candy to give out to everyone. He is a giving, generous man.
This past Saturday our family gathered to celebrate Dad’s LIFE and birthday – and we are blessed by his love, his generosity to us, his faithful support, and we wanted to honor him. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed being together and the blessing to truly celebrate God’s goodness to us.
Much love to you Dad from daughter #1 – I am so thankful for you and all you have done for our family – for the way you raised us girls and how you’ve taken such good care of us! We look forward to many more birthdays – Good Lord willing…as your mama used to say!