Digital Print Ink - June 2019

JUNE 2019




GRIT AND DETERMINATION E very parent wants to offer their child more than they were given as a kid, but for my father, doing better for my three brothers and me meant teaching us some of life’s biggest lessons. cross state lines and purchase grass seedlings that thrived in drier weather. He knew his cows needed sustenance to produce the milk he needed to keep the

Remembering the Tremendous and Arduous Life of My Father

When my father was just a baby, his mother abandoned their family. Because of the time he grew up in, he was sent to be raised by his grandparents until his father remarried. However, the woman his father did remarry was abusive to my dad and his brother. By age 14 and in the middle of the Great Depression, Dad decided he was better off in the world than in the cruel home where he was living. After enduring a difficult, abusive childhood and the sudden death of his first wife, Dad began wondering if everything he did would end in failure and loss. Anger consumed my dad by the time he met my mother during their military service. Despite his cynicism, he married my mom, and together, they raised four boys and ran a successful dairy farm. Eventually, Dad’s well- earned disgruntled nature shifted to motivation, and his answer to everything was hard work. Armed with a limited eighth-grade education, he became one of the first farmers in our area to do bulk milking, which established a faster and more efficient process. When drought plagued the region, Dad would

lights on, and he was willing to travel miles to get it. Dad also became the first farmer in the area to use artificial insemination to build a better herd of cows.

My Dad, James E. Counts 1914-1965

Grit and hard work were the backbones of our small, Missouri dairy farm, and because of our dad’s focus and determination, my brothers and I were able to attend college and go on to have lucrative careers in our fields. We owe a lot of our success to the principals and ethics our father instilled in us — even if there were days we wished we could just be lazy. Actually, my oldest brother once jokingly said, “If Dad didn’t believe in Sabbath and resting on Sundays, he would have probably worked us to death.” But that’s farm life. For someone who was abandoned by his mother, abused by his stepmother, and only attended school through eighth grade on and off, Dad had more ingenuity and work ethic than any man I have ever known. My father died when I was just 13 years old, and I never knew much about his childhood until my brothers and my mom began sharing stories with me. It wasn’t that he was hiding anything from me, but given my young age and the period he grew up in, he never felt it appropriate to share much. He still felt shame for some of the

tribulations he had to live through, and while I wish he didn’t have to live through what he did, I’m grateful for the background that created the man who became my father. Even if I only had 13 years with my dad, I’m proud to be his son and carry with me the lessons he shared every day of his life. –Steve Counts

“… my oldest brother once jokingly said, ‘If Dad didn’t believe in Sabbath and resting on Sundays, he would have probably worked us to death.’ But that’s farm life.”




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