Persistence Paid Off

The Heart Requires Effort

My Father who was named Horace James Terrill. He said his Mother had an admiration for Jesse James, hence his middle name was selected. Dad was born in a small mountain town in Kentucky. His father was a Minister who frequently visited his flock by traveling on horseback. He and his Brothers lived a very isolated life. They had little communication with the outside world. Only strangers from time to time, gave them ideas, of what the outside world was like. My Father and his one brother, always talked about leaving and visiting the rest of the world.

Dad Started with His Thumb

One night before going to bed they plotted a plan to leave. In the morning before anyone was awake they both gathered up the little clothes they had and left the only life, they had ever known. In time they discovered a well-traveled road, while on the road they learned the fine art of hitch hiking. They acquired this practice by watching others doing it.

The Railroad Offered Them a Ride

After days of traveling, they came across a railroad terminal, which later proved to be their final mode of transportation, to what my dad called the promise land. While in this terminal town, they worked at numerous jobs making money and saving some of same for their continued journey. Their ultimate goal was to reach a big city, like Chicago or Detroit. While in the small train town they learned a new mode of transportation and that was jumping in boxcars, while they were stopped for water, coal or wood. These supplies were needed to produce steam, which propelled the train to move. They had to always be on alert for the railroad police, who were not kind, in removing free riders from the train.

Dad Chose Car Country

They finally reached a juncture where they had two choices. One track led to Chicago, the other to Detroit. My dad choice the tract to Detroit, his brother chose Chicago and so their combined journey ended and each developed a new destination. While ridding in the boxcars, Dad would learn were He was, by talking to others, who were in the boxcars with him. Soon he was told they were arriving at a town called St. Joseph, which was located on the edge of Lake Michigan. He jumped from the boxcar as it slowed down, preparing to stop for passengers, the ones who paid their fares. Little did he know, that his drop off point was only a few blocks away, from were his future wife lived.

Found a Job with His Future Father In Law

After numerous jobs in the area, he met his future father in law, who offered him a job at his Amusement park. This park was called Silver Beach Amusement Park and it was located next to lake Michigan and the St. Joseph River.

Her Answer Was Always No

In time, he met his future bride and fell head over heals in love with her. My Mother said My Dad asked her to marry him at least a hundred times, she always said no. This greatly bothered and confused my Father, because he knew in his heart, my Mother loved him.

That's How I Came to Be

Finally my Father figured out what he was doing wrong. He corrected his marriage proposal and approached his future Father In Law and asked for his daughter's hand in marriage. Mr. Drake my Grand Father exclaimed in a loud voice, it's about time, I thought you would never ask. And that's how my parents united and found me.

Dad Didn't Know the Word No

To my Father, I say thank you Dad for teaching me the valve of persistence. Love does not always arrive in a chariot of gold and is easy to obtain. Sometimes you have to persist, like my Dad did.

I offer this article as a Memorial to my Father, who passed away in 1985. Thanks Dad, I'm proud to be your son.

Don L. Terrill

photo by JRAWLS