Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Frank Was Frank

My former sister-in-law’s father – my nephew’s grandfather - passed away from emphysema this week at the age of 75. He and his wife had been married for 53 years.

While my brother and his wife were off pursuing their careers, Frank and Carol watched over my nephew and practically raised him. I often wonder what my generation is thinking, when they choose making money over raising their own kids. Who’s going to raise their grandchildren, if they’re still busy working on their careers?

Frank is gone now and my nephew is an adult, heading off for graduate school. My ex sister-in-law and her brother put up a photo display of their father. In one shot, you saw Frank as very young man, working hard to build his property, before there was even a road.

His own father having died when he was young, Frank was raised by his mother and stepfather, a wealthy businessman and landowner in the town. He gave a piece of his land to his stepson. He could not have bestowed the gift upon a more grateful recipient.

Frank loved the country and loved his land. What did he think of Agenda 21 and the plan to divest all property owners of their land? Frank was no land baron. Just a hard-working Italian-American who wanted a small parcel of land to call his own, to raise his son and daughter (and grandson) in peace and security.

When my brother and sister-in-law were married, Frank, in his turn, made a gift of part of the land to them. My brother felt as Frank did, which is why (after the disastrous first date when my brother showed up in his customized sin wagon van) they remained friends and neighbors, even through the divorce.

Frank was hardly a perfectly man, as his family would be the first to admit. He was blunt, brusque, and critical, particularly when he drank. But he was honest and worked hard, and admired those he did. As I helped my brother clear the land for their house, Frank watched me approvingly, as I dragged heavy tree trunks off into the deep woods, falling into puddles, but never giving up.

I admired him (and his wife and his mother) for taking John under their shelter when John’s parents followed the money instead of their parental instincts. Frank loved his land and loved his country. He lived the American dream. His home and his family were his life. He would have had some deeply sarcastic, and very likely profane, but honest (as his son said at his wake, “Frank was frank”) response to the notion of being a hobbit, one of the common people.

When you hear of Agenda 21, or one o fits many aliases, Smart Development, think of Frank – a very smart, hard-working American property owner – with deep admiration and respect.


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