The stranger looked up and
replied, "Your old man."
"What do you mean, my old
man?" my grandfather asked. "Your old man — old man Dickson."
There was a very historic cellar hole on our Sudbury land where the
Haynes Garrison House had stood. Here the Haynes family and neighbors
sought refuge from Indian attacks. My father gave the Daughters of the
American Revolution permis- sion to erect a marker there, and a large
crowd gathered for the unveiling ceremonies. Flags streamed from the
cedars, lemonade and cookies were served from a long table, and various
dignitaries made sentimental or historic speeches. One elderly
'Daughter', beaming with smiles and pride, read a seemingly endless poem she had composed for the occasion. Written in the Hiawatha meter, it had
to do with the Sudbury farmer and his skirmishes with the Indians.
Finally, the master of ceremonies thought it appropriate to have my
father say a few words, for after all it was his generosity that made
this great occasion possible. The speech was short and to the point, as
were all his speeches. "I hope," he said, "that if there are any
assessors of the town of Sudbury present, they won't feel that the value
of my land is being increased by all this."
My mother's birthday was on the third of July. My father always
maintained that when she was one day old she was awakened in the early
morning by firecrackers and started yell- ing "and," he said, "she hasn't
stopped yelling since." Her life revolved around horses. A horse is a
superior being, she said, and can do no wrong. Whenever a rider was
thrown off, it was never the horse's fault. I once got kicked across the
stable by Tito, a temperamental Shetland pony that I was cleaning, not