Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

The Decency of Ralph Moody

We recently received this nice note as a comment elsewhere in the site. I thought it would be worth sharing as a special post:

What a treat to find this site.

My mother and father were divorced when I was 6yrs old and I lacked a father figure.   At around 7 yrs of age we began reading this and an eight year old boy, along with his own father, filled that hole in my life.    I never cried so hard when Father died and “so long partner” still brings the feeling of loss to my soul.
I’m 65 yrs old now.   In 1982, while reading to my own sons, the longing to tell Mr Moody what he’d meant to my life grew strong enough to attempt to reach him – when I did I found he’d recently past.   I was devastated for having waited too long.   Now I read with my grandchildren.  Also, since retirement I have met dozens of men in the shooting world with whom I shoot and I’ve shared Mr Moody’s series with many of them, their appreciation is great though I can’t imagine the hooks going so deep as they do in my own life.   I consider him a gift and a treasure.   The decency that exudes from every page of his series is a decency I strive for, too often failing, in my own life.   I loved that man and his family without ever knowing them.    John

1 Comment

  1. The first time I heard “it was going round and round like a stuck gramophone cylinder, and was saying over and over – “So long, partner; so long, partner ; so long, partner”, I was cut so deep and cried as if I could feel Ralph’s pain and the pain of everyone that lost someone they so loved and looked up to. I couldn’t shake it for days.
    My dear wife mostly does the reading, and we mostly read in the late fall and winter when the days are shorter, and the warmth and glow of the woodstove gathers and keeps us gathered. Little Britches was read the first time when our older children were smaller, and now at this time again as our middle children have come of age. The book is so full of gems that deepen my affection for the relationship between Ralph and his father. The last chapter was coming again, and I dreaded it, knowing what it did to me last time. As the chapter was being read again, I wondered if maybe it wouldn’t hit me as hard. Maybe it didn’t, but it’s been hard to tell. The words “so long, partner” still ring over and over in my head, and the deep sense of a combination of longing and loss fill my soul. I’m not exactly sure why this happens. My wife says, “maybe because you have a heart”.
    My father is a good man, a Mr. steady, a plodder, was a get up and go to work every early morning kinda man before retirement. Not a leader or a teacher, but a man of pattern, I later learned for good and bad. I don’t remember hearing much advise from him as a boy or young man, but to his credit, he was often there, which is way more than I can say for the fathers of some of my peers. He didn’t initiate much if any, but often did things if I asked. As I grew older, I came to appreciate the fact that I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t at a baseball practice, or game. I never fully understood the sacrifice it took going to work extra early into the city so he could be home in time for those activities. All of his “free time” centered around just being with his family.
    Over the years, I cant recall ever being around a man I deeply admired for any extended period of time. Though I am thankful for my dad, we have always been different I suppose. As I got older, I perceived an unwillingness to take a lead, either in pursuit of a dream for him or his family. Maybe it was all he had just to provide for us, and that was his dream. His interests, if he had them were hard to tell, and were not active. He didn’t and doesn’t talk about perusing interests much. I was active, and he was not, and that created separation. Conversations became somewhat awkward for me, and probably him as well, likely because we didnt have much of common interest to talk about. There didnt seem much interest in persuing much together. Im a doer and he’s not. I find pleasure in doing, dreaming and experiencing goal oriented adventures and activities with people, and dad seems to not be. Retirement hasn’t been good for him in a sense. Without much to do, as a man of pattern, he spends quite a bit of time surrounded by the patterns that have not served him well, and it makes me sad and resentful.
    I wonder if something died in him years ago, and maybe something died in me along the way. Maybe, “so long, partner” is a reminder of an active relationship I always wanted but didn’t know I needed or wanted, and of an active death I don’t want to see. I’m 43 now, I have 8 children, 7 girls, and 1 boy in the middle. I see that the days are long and the years are short. Ralph Moody inspires me to something better, and my prayer is for better.

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