A few years ago when I was putting my new home together I decided I wanted to surround myself with the things that are most important to me. Topping that list was family and to that end one of my most treasured pieces is this shirt that belonged to my dad.
My father, Bill Lamphere, was a cattleman having been for many years the manager/herdsman of Free Baer Farm, first in Stone Arabia and then in Palatine Bridge. Free Baer Farm was a dairy farm with a milking herd of about 40 registered Holsteins. Every year at this time the farm would take a string of show cattle to the Fonda Fair and the NY State fair in Syracuse. This shirt, which now hangs in my bedroom was my dad's "show shirt". Soft from many washings, I would guess it now to be about 50 years old.
A proud veteran of WWII my dad was awarded a Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster for action seen at the Battle of the Bulge and during the crossing of the Rhine river at Remagen. In addition he recieved a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and a Combat Infantry Badge. Dad was also well know throughout the valley for his fine singing voice and his lay ministry work.
Over the years I have told parents who were discouraged as their child struggled to read, or even worse, didn't like reading, that besides encouraging kids to read and reading to them, they needed to set the example and be readers themselves. I am living proof of that. My dad read all the time across the board on a variety of subjects. Frequently after my siblings had left home and it was just my parents and myself, many a morning I would be at one end of the dining room table with a book while my dad was at the other with his own book. We crunched our Corn Flakes to the whispering sound of pages turning.
Sometimes I doubt that my life's path would have led me to 19 Kingsbury Ave if it were not for the "reading" influence of my father. When I wake up in the morning and see his shirt I am reminded of the wonderful childhood that I enjoyed and the great man that was my dad; I am so very thankful that he loved to read.