Robert Ballew
of Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index || Corsicana Daily Sun Articles


6/21/2005 Robert Ballew: One Fatherís Day Iíll always remember.

Perhaps we all have special Fatherís Day stories, but mine is so full of irony and coincidence that it will never escape me. I think of it especially on Fatherís Day, but on many other days of the year also.

Fatherís Day 1955 started as any other, gifts to Daddy, and many ďHappy Fatherís DaysĒ to my 53-year-old dad, Robert Lee Ballew. We were, however, up early and off to my Aunt Ludieís house in Emmett where my Grandmother Ballew also lived.

We arrived in time for church at the Prairie Grove Baptist Church, which was founded by Daddyís grandfather, J. C. Osborne. Daddy was not a church going man by and large although he was a believer and was baptized in this very church as a young man. He was today among his own folks and took a place in the small choir loft. I remember looking at him as he rose and sang the old hymns with his friends and family. Perhaps I was impressed with his being in church and must say that it is the only time I remember seeing him in church.

After lunch my cousin Lowell David and I built a bridge across one of the large ditches in the pasture. It had rained recently, and the ditch was still full of water. We were impressed with our effort and, finding the family relaxing on the front porch, pleaded with someone to come and see what we had done. Daddy finally agreed and he followed us toward the bridge. Lowell David led, I was second, and Daddy brought up the rear.

We passed through the large lane in the barn and for some unknown reason I felt the need to look back. I saw Daddy crouched and holding on to a fence, which made a pen attached to the barn.

It was not unusual to see Daddy crouching, sitting on his heels when there was no chair.

I went to his side and assumed the same position and looked at him, asking what he had found.

His face was crimson and showed distress. He did not respond to me in any way. He fell toward me, and I jumped back to avoid being hit. He hit his head on something when he fell, and I realized that something bad had happened.

Lowell and I screamed to the rest of the family to come quickly.

Daddy had died of a massive heart attack. We followed Uncle Jimmy and Mother as they headed to Corsicana up FM 744. We stopped at the first house that had a phone, called ahead and waited in the car until Uncle Jimmy came and told us that Daddy had died.

The irony of the day has fascinated me now for these 50 years. To have died on Fatherís Day would have been ironic enough, but his having sung in the choir at his family church that day added an additional touch. Most of all, perhaps, is that he died within 100 yards of the place he was born. His oldest home place was only 100 yards north of the very spot he took his last breath.

Iíve been a father now for many years and appreciate hearing from the children and seeing them as parents, but I canít imagine that Iíll ever experience a Fatherís Day filled with such significance and irony as that one in 1955.


Robert Ballew writes for Explore ... magazine.


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