It was 1958, the farm growing both in work and income, when Dad learned a neighbor boy was looking for work.
After putting pencil to paper, Dad decided to pay a visit to this young man in hopes of striking an agreement on a fair hourly wage. Tim Galliher was so handsome my big sisters still look starry-eyed when his name is mentioned. He was shy and kind, and because he was so appreciated by both of my parents, he quickly became family.
Dad had just bought a brand new Allis-Chalmers D-17, and Mom snapped a picture of Tim, his radiant smile lighting up the place, as he prepared to put the tractor to work for the first time.
His respect and admiration for Dad carried over to his work, always done well, and my parents felt mighty lucky to welcome him as part of their team. If Tim saw something that needed attention, he did his best to address it, and Dad was impressed by his knack for fixing things.
I was born on Tim’s 16th birthday, and by the time my memory could hold him, he was sent to Vietnam. My parents worried about him endlessly, and Dad searched the mail for Tim’s letters home. Mom wrote to him often, sending cookies and candy when there was extra money for the high cost of shipping.
I asked Dad where Tim was, and he said he was serving his country in a far-away place that none of us have ever seen, a place we could not begin to imagine. And so, I pictured it as beautiful, filled with every single thing anyone would hope for, and Tim’s days as joyful and fun. I colored pictures for Tim while my sisters were at school, and Mom would tuck these inside her letters to him.
My parents were so relieved when Tim’s letters let them know he was soon coming home. They welcomed him back with gratitude and joy.
Dad and Mom stayed in touch with him throughout his own life-building years. I remember going to visit him and his pretty bride, and I still recall that little girl feeling of being afraid she might not like it if she knew how much my sisters and I loved him.
Yesterday, Tim was laid to rest, after a long battle with leukemia. The last time I had spoken with him was the day after Dad died. Tim had just heard the sad news and called my parents’ home. When I answered the phone, Tim’s voice took me back to happier days.
Tim spoke of how much my father had shaped him into a better man, giving him not just a job, but a second family who cared about him, who valued him and all that he could accomplish.
Tim had become a self-employed carpenter, always busy, his work sought by many. He was a family man and said my parents had served as wonderful role models as he built his own beloved family and a successful business.
He spoke of my Dad with as much love as a beloved brother would and, as his voice broke with sadness, we cried together for all that once was, and for a good man gone too soon.
A welcoming reunion, two good souls meeting in a place so amazing we can’t even begin to imagine, is what I am dreaming of as I watch the sunrise this morning.
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