As a child I remember my days were filled with activities. After all, “the job of a child is to play and have fun” said my brother several years ago. Some of those days were as slow as molasses, you know, when we had chores, or sitting with nothing to keep us busy, yep, those times. However, when school was out and summer was in full force and I was playing in the neighborhood with my buddies, those were the days that screamed by. They went way too fast. On one occasion when my grandmother was staying with us, I came inside after a buddy did something wrong to me, so I came inside, angry, telling grandma all about it. Her response was profound, just a simple “You’ll have that!” No argument about my defense, no consolation, nothing, just an acknowledgment, as to say “Enjoy the good and the bad, and One Day at a Time.”
Going Back in Time….
The year was 1816 in eastern Pennsylvania, my Great, Great, Great grandfather Daniel Way was born. He got married to Hanna and had 7 children. In those days the attraction of moving west to Ohio was big, there was lots of wide open land. Daniel saved his money, worked hard, and by the time he was 32 years old, moved his family west to a small town in central Ohio. He purchased land and built a barn (still standing to this day). The year he completed the barn in 1852, at the age of 36, the unthinkable happened, he fell off the roof and died. Daniel left his family to care for the crops and to continue farming the land, his lovely bride was a true hero to manage the task. I believe she understood, with all the ups and downs, why it was so important to take life, “One Day at a Time.”
Daniel Fisher was also a Great, Great, Great grandfather, another true hero along with his wife Harriette and son Daniel Jr., the middle child. Daniel and Harriette also lived in eastern Pennsylvania, they fell in love and got married in 1835. They also moved to Ohio to purchase farmland and set up a thriving farm. After the move the farm was active. In 1862 Harriette gave birth to their 13th child, a little girl. Tragically two weeks later Harriette and her newborn daughter both died, she was only 43 years old. In those days the Civil War was raging throughout the states. After losing his wife and youngest daughter, my grandfather and his 18-year-old son Daniel Jr. decided to accept the call from Lincoln and join in the Civil War to fight for the values they deemed important. The next couple years they were together. In the fall of 1864 private Daniel Fisher Jr. was taken prisoner and placed in a camp called “Cahaba” located in Alabama. Daniel Sr. Returned home however Daniel Jr. remained in prison. While he was imprisoned, on April 9th, 1865, the Civil War came to an end. The prisoners were released, including Uncle Daniel, they were taken to the Mississippi River to be transported back up north. After all the battles, several months of indescribable conditions in that prison camp, young Daniel was headed home. These POWs boarded a ship called the “Sultana”. It was a riverboat designed to carry 376 passengers along with goods from the south. Instead, it was loaded with 2,300 people, mostly released prisoners going back home. On April 27th at 2:00 AM a boiler exploded killing some 1,600 people, my Uncle Daniel was one of them. Amazing that this marine time disaster is the worst in US history, and I didn’t know about it until my cousin Sandy shared her research and wrote the details about our family members. Back home in Ohio Grandpa Daniel lived the rest of his years with his wonderful family, I’m sure he was happy to be living “One Day at Time”.
These short stories only scratch the surface of my amazing family history. I cried as I gave memory and thought to these courageous people. To think we had such heroes before us. It humbles me to think of their greatness mixed with drama and loss, the victory and survival. While I was thinking about my family, I thought “isn’t it true that every human being on the planet had someone who survived all odds, who overcame obstacles and challenges and lived during their time”. They were men and women who lived, some with privileged lives but most with hard days. I believe we live in a time where conveniences, you know, the kind that can often be taken for granted, these were dreams by those who came before us. Not to discount our challenges, but to really think about the times that we live.
When I have the opportunity to be involved with a construction project, whether a remodel project or a beautiful new home, it’s my desire, along with all of Darling Enterprise, to build where we can all enjoy these days, to be safe and to have all the available conveniences. With all of this to consider, and a family to enjoy, with the air in my lungs and a heart to move forward and projects to build, I can’t think of anything to be more thankful for, than to enjoy “One Day at a Time”.