Christmas Gift! (With apologies to Ferrol Sams!)

December 2, 2017

For my Sister and Brothers,

Our Daddy, James Henry (“Hilly”) Boyd valued hard work. He also valued earning one’s own way and saving money. He was a keen advocate for the accumulation of the financial resources over time. He enjoyed stock analysis and investing. He enjoyed his friendship with Mr. John Watts, an older gentleman who was knowledgeable about stocks and investing and he wanted his children to understand and participate in saving and investing. Daddy also enjoyed telling stories….some of them true, some of them fabricated out of whole cloth….the sheer and flimsy kind that one could see through quickly.

Whenever the conversation turned to success in business, Daddy liked to tell the story of a drifter in the 1920’s during the Depression, who came to Atlanta during the construction of the Henry Grady Hotel.  The contractor told the man he had hired all the men he had wheelbarrows for, but it he had his own wheelbarrow he would hire the man to move bricks from one side of the construction site to the other.  The man went out and bought a wheelbarrow on credit and started work. He was a hard worker……..He outworked everyone around him. “Five years later”, Daddy would ask, “what do you think that man was worth?”  Expectantly,  listeners would lean in to hear the rest of the story with a rags to riches  ending.  Told with all sincerity and admiration for this hardworking man, he’d slowly give the end of the story in an incredulous and emphatic way:  “Not one red cent! And he still owed for the wheelbarrow!”   Then Daddy would laugh heartily as everyone else joined in. Of course, it was not quite as funny after we Boyd children had heard it several times and could join him in the punch line. But we still laughed.

Then there was a story Daddy told, as though it was the very truth, and it may well have been, about his own family….. the family legend was that his Grand Daddy Carroll, his Mother’s father, purchased a car back in the day of the early Ford automobiles. He would then promptly cut through the roof and remove everything from behind the front seat all the way to the rear bumper and make his own pickup truck from it. I could just see that image in my mind…..with a homemade flatbed and wooden side bodies for hauling whatever needed to be hauled. In my childish mind’s eye it somehow made me wonder if that could have been part of the inspiration for Boyd Brothers Trucking.

I was in New Mexico and went to a small Native American store……They had assorted items for sale – Mexican style shirts, tin ornaments, pottery, metal art, and more. While there I saw this little wheel barrow and truck and thought instantly of Daddy’s stories. What fun! To commemorate our shared laughter and memories of Daddy’s stories and the fun we enjoyed at family gatherings listening to Daddy tell them anew to the newcomers in our midst.

Our stories reveal who we are and what we value. They also keep our memories of people and events alive. I may not have remembered these stories exactly the way you heard Daddy tell them, but I cherish the fact that we do have memories like these and that, at gatherings like this, we can share them.

Merry Christmas! Cathy