Sunday, June 15, 2014

Celebrating a life well-lived...Doyle Chambers (1918-2005)

He was born in 1918, the first-born child to a sharecropping family in rural Line, Arkansas.  By the time he could stand, he was picking cotton.  His family relocated to Bonita, Louisiana, because his father felt his children could receive a better education there.  He studied by kerosene lamp, and delivered his lessons in a one-room schoolhouse.  

He was by no means the perfect child!  If he got a whippin' at school, his little sister would run home to give Mom the news, and he was sent outside to 'prune the peach tree'. (He got a whippin' at home, too, with the very switch he picked.) 

He laughed as he recounted the one pair of shoes ordered from the Sears catalog yearly.  As his mom was placing the order, she would ask, "Doyle, how do your shoes feel?"  He was a kid and his response was, "Fine," and he would spend the coming year squeezing his growing feet into shoes that couldn't accommodate them.

He worked hard each day, and studied hard each night, by kerosene lamp.  He excelled in Latin, and his teacher decided that he was destined for an undergraduate degree at LSU.  Before his formal education was completed, he had received his Ph.D. in Animal Genetics from Oklahoma State University.  He would retire as Vice Chancellor for Reseach in the AgCenter at Louisiana State University.

He was an avid traveler throughout his life, crawling across Europe in the 1940s, and revisiting with his wife after his retirement in the mid-'80s.  He was a loyal and devoted  husband to my mom for 53 years (until her passing), and a consistent and loving dad to us kids.  He treasured marriage and family so much that he remarried after her passing and his family increased in size.

Grand-parenting was his specialty!  There was a gentleness about his approach to my children that warmed my heart, as he encouraged them in life with wisdoms like, "You can choose any profession.  The cream always rises to the top."  That was my dad.  His name was Doyle Chambers.  He died in September 2005. 

I wrote the tune 'So Far' after his passing.  He was very pragmatic and consistent...I am very exuberant and artsy-fartsy.  I understand now why, over the years, he would look at me and grin and shake his head at the way I looked at the world!  I always knew he loved me, though. 

If I could say one thing to my dad this very day, it would be this:  You taught me by your example how to 'stay headed in the right direction and keep it between the lines'.  I'd say that's the best gift a father can give a child.  Please take a look and listen at this slide-show video of my dad, alongside the rest of our family, over the years.  

Here's the link:

Special thanks to producer and videographer Daniel Lee, and to string player Dave Hinson for making this song come to life.

As always, thank you for reading, watching and listening...and a very Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and father-figures out there.  Until next blog, peace and love to you.  dorothy