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Posted by: thepinetree on 06/18/2006 11:23 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 06/18/2017 09:05 AM
Expires: 01/01/2025 12:00 AM
:



"IF" by Rudyard Kipling...Dedicated to Jay S. Hamilton & Dads Everywhere ~ By John Hamilton (Updated)

Denair, CA...We originally posted this for Father's in 2006. My father would turn 101 this year if he were here today. This poem was my father's favorite. This one is dedicated to my Father...Jay S. Hamilton. Dad was born in November of 1916 and died in May of 1991. His life saw deep tragedy but he always rose above it. He was born in a house in rural Oklahoma with no electricity or running water. His Mom burned to death when he was 9 years old from a kerosene lantern fire while he was at home.....


My Parents And Oldest Brother Circa 1943.


After his mom's death his dad lost his grip on life and started gripping a bottle instead. After her passing he was raised mostly by his older sisters. At times they knew hunger. One month he recalled their diet consisted mainly of biscuits of flour and lard and literally squirrel stew.

As a young man he loved baseball and found he could pitch. He started pitching varsity baseball when he was in the 8th grade. He carried his high school team to the state championships multiple years. He was offered a Minor League Chicago Cubs contract during his Junior Year but threw out his pitching arm in the State Championships (Which They Won). His baseball hero's were Satchel Page & Dizzy Dean. He attended a negro league game and watched Satchel pitch and tried to emulate his style.

He never mentioned to us what must have been the almost unimaginable disappointment the injury was and of not being able to pursue a Major League career. In fact it was my mother that told me about his pitching after his death.

At 16 in the midst of the depression he hitchhiked to California in 1932 with $5.00 to start a new life. He spent his first night in California sleeping on a park bench in Visalia.

He built a new life indeed. He paid his way through college and graduated debt free. In fact his college actually owed him money after graduation as he had a contract to supply the school with wood to fire their boiler.

He married his college sweetheart, became a teacher, raised 4 sons and farmed in the Turlock area for 50 years. For most of his years farming we had a dairy. While I was in elementary school he sold off the dairy cows and we transitioned over to beef cattle.

It never seemed odd to us that he had a had a full time teaching job and was the principal of at least two schools while running a dairy. We thought growing up that all men worked 18 hours a day and only 6 hours milking on his day off for church. He did this with such effortless good will and cheer that we thought 100 plus hour workweeks were just what adults did.

One example of his "normal" work habits...in the 1950s he went back to school to get his Masters Degree while he was a teacher/principal of a school and running the dairy. The pasture needed watering and he was afraid he would oversleep his alarm. So he opened the water gate into the field one night and then went down to the other end of the pasture and fell asleep in the grass. He figured the water would wake him when it reached him. It did and a new day started.

He stayed married and in love with his sweetheart for 53 years before losing his last battle with cancer in 1991. He remains the greatest and most inspirational man I have ever known. He didn't just tell us about life. .He did something much harder...he lived an example everyday.

Once he set his mind to a task nothing would stand in the way of it's completion. He lived an upright, honorable and determined life. My brothers and I were constantly amazed at the amount of work he could fit into a day.

He never preached to his sons about how they should do this or that. He did something much harder...He lived an exemplary life and let it speak for him.

A few days before he died with his son's around him we asked him what was the secret to his life. He said "Work, It was always there for me" Work for Jay Hamilton wasn't something he had to do but a friend that was always there to pour his life into and give it direction.

His generation was made of different stuff. They knew real hardships...The Great Depression, World War II and more! If we can live up to their legacy nothing can stand in our way!

Thanks Dad!!
Your Son
John Hamilton

IF
By, Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!





Comments - Make a comment
The comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for its content. We value free speech but remember this is a public forum and we hope that people would use common sense and decency. If you see an offensive comment please email us at news@thepinetree.net
Thank You John
Posted on: 2014-06-15 09:12:01   By: Anonymous
 
May you enjoy your day as your son's honor you.
Thank you for your annual post for father's day.
This year it made me cry as I am missing my dear sweet husband so much.
Ladybug aka.....

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2014-06-15 10:30:03   By: Anonymous
 
I love that you do this.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2014-06-15 13:09:37   By: Anonymous
     
    In this day and age of "buy, buy, buy, buy!" as Dr. Suess put it, it is lovely to see that remembering and honoring our parents is the real point of this day. My hope is that someday we come full circle and stop the busi-ness to fully enjoy and appreciate our loved ones while they are still with us.

    [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2015-06-21 14:05:44   By: Anonymous
     
    John- your dad and mine were both part of a very special generation-I believe Tom Brokaw referred to them as "The Greatest Generation." My dad will be 90 next month. He too worked hard all his life, provided for his family, set rules and guidelines to live and work by. He served in the US Navy in WWII and came home, got his degree in agriculture, taught high school ag, opened his own business and built that into a successful organization. That generation was a driving force in making our country what it is today, and it is still filled with opportunity for those who recognize that fact and give it their best.

    [Reply ]

    Re: Father's Day!
    Posted on: 2016-06-19 08:45:26   By: Anonymous
     
    My father would have been 107 this August! They are a generation to be proud of! No sitting around waiting for someone to give them handouts--they went out everyday and took care of their families' needs--both mom and dad were involved in taking care of their families!

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2014-06-15 11:30:26   By: Anonymous
 
You are very right when you say they were made of different stuff. Not many today could overcome the challenges your father did.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2017-06-18 15:48:41   By: Anonymous
     
    "You didn''t build that!"
    -- Barack Hussein Obama

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2014-06-15 11:52:48   By: Anonymous
 


[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2014-06-15 14:08:20   By: Anonymous
     
    Atleast your shirt was ironed in that photo

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2015-06-21 16:18:43   By: Anonymous
       
      Some people worry about larger things in life, you worry about shirts being ironed, pretty sad...

      [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2016-06-19 08:29:09   By: Anonymous
       
      He's not in the photo. The caption says it is his brother. Don't be so insensitive. Not even funny.

      [Reply ]

        Re:
        Posted on: 2017-06-18 11:07:13   By: Anonymous
         
        I thought it was witty.

        [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2014-06-15 14:38:28   By: Anonymous
     
    Lack of a father's strong guiding hand makes itself apparent in many ways, no matter how young or how old you may be.

    Thank you, John, for sharing your love for your father today. Many of us have the same loving memories.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2014-06-15 16:09:30   By: Anonymous
 


[Reply ]

    Re: Thank you, John
    Posted on: 2014-06-15 18:11:35   By: Anonymous
     
    Thanks for sharing this; it's beautiful and so true!

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2015-06-21 11:45:56   By: Anonymous
 
Thank you. You were a lucky kid!

[Reply ]

Smile
Posted on: 2015-06-21 14:01:44   By: Anonymous
 
Thanks for continuing this beautiful tradition.
It makes me smile.
L.B.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2015-06-21 14:11:40   By: Anonymous
 
I worked with Jay for several years. He was my lunch buddy. He had this parlor trick he would do and now I quess it must have started in his pitching days. He would take a ball and start a mighty wind up, step forward and pretend to throw a powerful pitch, but then, he would gently toss the ball at you with his other hand, where he'd hidden the ball. It terrified a lot of visitors and students. Big laugh after! I loved Jay. Cathy Fitzpatrick

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2016-06-19 07:27:55   By: Anonymous
 
simply beautiful

My sympathy for the loss of your brother.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2016-06-19 08:34:47   By: Anonymous
 
John, what an amazing and inspirational life! Five dollars to start a new life in Ca, then debt free leaving college?! So sorry for the tragedy of losing his mother, and the grandmother you never knew.
You deserve to be so proud.
Condolences on losing your brother.
Carry on your admirable family tradition of hard work and loyalty to your family.

[Reply ]

Tradition..as sung by Tevya.........
Posted on: 2016-06-19 12:04:48   By: Anonymous
 
This is something I look forward too every year. I am so sorry about the loss of your brother. How hard for his 7 daughter's.
Memories will sustain them. And having an Uncle like you will help too. You brought tears to my eyes yet again as I am still not used to being alone today.
Thank You John. You are setting a great example for your sons.
Ladybug

[Reply ]

    Re: Tradition..as sung by Tevya.........
    Posted on: 2016-06-19 20:09:16   By: Anonymous
     
    This is so sad that I could just cry, but I won't.

    [Reply ]

    Re: Tradition..as sung by Tevya.........
    Posted on: 2017-06-18 08:04:18   By: Anonymous
     

    Thanks John, my Dad's birthday was June 8th and I miss that quiet, humble man ....and a big hug to Ladybug too.

    [Reply ]

      Re: Tradition..as sung by Tevya.........
      Posted on: 2017-06-18 12:58:28   By: Anonymous
       
      John, thank you for continuing to post this every year. It's a wonderful tradition. I know your dad is proud of you.

      Thank you for the hug,I'm sorry you're dad is gone too.
      I miss my dad but know he's not in pain any more.

      Lots of wonderful dad's out there to be celebrated today.


      [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-18 08:34:57   By: Anonymous
 
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there who set an example of what it is to be a good, responsible man everyday. And thanks for sharing one of the greatest poems ever written!


[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2017-06-18 09:52:54   By: Anonymous
     
    Happy Fathers Day, John. Thank you for posting this story about your father and brother.
    I liked the poem.
    If.........
    Peace be with you. Happy Fathers Day!

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2017-06-18 11:23:20   By: Anonymous
       
      What a beautiful and heartfelt tribute. It takes a lot to share with the world your feelings. This is amazing what a great insight there are very few of us that were lucky enough to have had fathers like this.

      [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-18 11:32:20   By: Anonymous
 
What a wonderful tribute to a good man and father. Thank you for sharing this and wishing all dads a very happy Father's Day, if they are with us only in memory.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2017-06-18 11:51:50   By: Anonymous
     
    put them on top of the each,

    [Reply ]

NY cheese cake.
Posted on: 2017-06-18 14:25:45   By: Anonymous
 
I baked one from scratch, from watching my Dad when he made them, he past-away, but for dessert on Father's day brunch we had a splendid cheesecake that would have pleased my Old Man to no end.

[Reply ]

    Re: NY cheese cake.
    Posted on: 2017-06-18 16:07:02   By: Anonymous
     
    Very good to flow his tradition.

    [Reply ]

      Re: NY cheese cake.
      Posted on: 2017-06-18 16:07:39   By: Anonymous
       
      Follow,darn auto spell

      [Reply ]


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