Well, my dad would be 109 today so it’s not a great surprise he isn’t here to celebrate the day. Thing is, he taught me how to start a garden from a raw hard ground on Long Island, how to spread anything with just a shovel, how to grow food and when to pick and what to do when the crop comes in. He taught me to grow fruit trees though on Long Island he grew apples, several kinds, while in Florida we grow a varity of oranges and figs, papayas, pineapples and lemons….

Later on in life, I used to fly up in May to Lake Bonaparte, New York, to plant dad a garden. The soil there is much like Long Island’s, hard packed and rock filled. but, amazingly, that garden up at the lake grew like crazy and by mid July it was a huge force of fresh food.


I mulched the garden here in Floirda today with intentions to wait until mid to late August to plant once again. We’re still picking some green peppers, collard greens and several kinds of herbs but this is the fallow time of year for my garden here in Florida. Mind you, some here plant a varity of beans, okra and other stuff that does well during the summer in Florida, but I take this six weeks off  to rest myself and the soil.  I mulch now to keep the weeds from growing from now til then.  Today I spread 30 wheel barrels full of leaves over the garden as dad’s voice rattled my head.

“Ye God’s and little dill pickles.” Dad would call this out often enough as I grew up and most likely for good reason. Today, now, the saying fits perfectly….

I can’t imagine what my dad would think about people claiming Russia is in bed with our President, or, is it the other way around or does it matter? “Honey, I swear I wasn’t in bed with her; she was in bed with me!” Me? I’ll let that all shake out in time—truth has a way of winning out.

Dad might just forget the mess we’re in and garden that super asparagus patch he had…and he might have been better off for it. Dad was a silent worker who never complained that I remember but for President Nixon’s removal—He hated that.

Dad was there for my very first day home—I’m all spanking new from the hospital.

Bonus picture: Bonaparte Lodge way before( I think) my dad was born on July 18th, 1911.

I love old pictures of our past.

(Back to story)

Dad fought in WW II along with his brothers way before my time,.

I don’t believe the war was upon my dad, his father or his three brothers at the time of this picture…(Dad is second from the left.)

But, by the time this picture below was taken the men had seen war first hand and women had done their part at home. Dad isn’t in this picture but his sister my, Aunt Virginia,( now a Morgan), and Uncle MO Morgan of Natural Bridge, NY are here…

My dad’s sister, Virginia Morgan, is top left row, then his parents, his brother, Rolan, and Aunt Donna; bottom row is Uncle Mo Morgan who owned the Morgan Store and the Natural Bridge Caverns in Natural bridge, next to him is a cousin, maybe Ginny Mae Morgan,, Aunt Lola, more cousins, Jim?, and Uncle John is bottom right. We were so lucky that all four brothers survived fighting in the war.

My Full Colonel, Max R Franquemont, dad…..

It’s thrilling to note that upon my Dad’s passing just after 9/11 that the army flew a Missing Man formation for him over Lake Bonarpate where he first had trained as a soldier. There was also a full taps and flag presentation to my mom. The flag is still in the camp at Bonaparte. My dad was a big deal in the war—yes, I am proud of dad.

I love to know dad had many great memories up at the lake in his elder years….

Dad and mom with the Shermans up at, Lake Bonaparte. Joey and Mary are still our best friends at the Lake. What a time it has been!

But to me, dad was never an officer, a man who’d been over seas and risked his life for America. No, Dad was a gentle father who never once raised his voice to me—not ever, though I gave him good reason to, he just didn’t. He taught me how to fish during years of my life when I was the “Go fishing with you dad,” kid who couldn’t stop asking. Think while traveling with children: are we there yet?

By the Morgan Boat House on Lake Bonaparte about  1978…

Dad was an opera star with no voice.  I’m sure birds died just from hearing him sing; cetainly dogs went suicidal. But, Dad was famous, never-the-less, for his special rendition of, Sweet Ivory Soap…a tune he only sang well blasted while wearing a towel he branished as a Matrodor’s cape as he walk to and fro through the room. The bar of soap in hand, dad would rouse the room filled of family to tears of laughter and some peed on pants—this, I think, is why he actually brought a bar of soap whenever he sang this tune.

Dad a few years before he died singing, Sweet Ivory Soap. By then we’d all learned the words.

I do wish the generations might span a few more than we do now. Dad never got to see my first daughter’s three and my second daughter’s five boys and one girl…I can only tell them about dad as they grow.

Isaiah with his brand new sister, Annalise—does dad know?

It seems every generation will have it’s share of wars to fight; I just want dad to know I stepped up to mine as I could. There haven’t been bombs dropping or too many bullets I’ve had to dodge or clubbing of heads, but I do feel as though my life has a been a war, a constant battle where life and death, if not instantly, is on the line for so many.

Gainesville, Florida…

So I plant; I remember dad. I remember a dad who was so easy to touch and listen to as he spoke. I remember him so long gone as one who still lives inside of me.

“Ye God’s and little dills pickles!” My memory of dad is a soft pillows for my days. The memory of a good dad is a bridge you can always count on as you go your way through life. There’s so much to say to those good people who have gone before us.

Me? I just keep planting hoping the seeds will grow.