A long time ago, in the year 1923 on June 4th, a baby was born in Mutton Hollow north of the Cherry Run intersection near Whitesburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were Alpha Kline Smail and Joycie (Blystone) Smail. He was the middle child. He would in later years become my father!
My dad attended the one-room schoolhouse known as the McIntosh School and later the Elderton High School as a boy and young man. The little one room schoolhouse is still standing just a short distance from the Cherry Run crossroad intersection. At this intersection my father grew up. The house and barn have been long gone. Foundation stones are all that are left of the buildings.
My dad was a special young man. He was the class president and valedictorian of the class of 1941. He was very much respected.
My father, Allen K. Smail on the right, somewhere in Europe in World war 2
In December of 1941, he was setting in a car at Reedy’s Gas Station. (This station has been a home now for many years. The station was about half a mile east from the earlier mentioned intersection.) He was listening to the radio when word of the attack on Pearl harbor occurred. In 1942 he was off to war not to return unil the fall of 1945. He spent his war years in England; France; Belgium; Holland and Germany. He would become a member of the Military Police with a German Shepard dog named Wolf. He arrived in Kittanning via train in the fall of 1945 and began the long walk home to Cherry Run. Fortunately, neighbors happened to be coming by and picked him up.
He began his work again at the Schenley Distilleries near Leechburg, Pennsylvania and remained there until the plant’s closing in eighties. His father was becoming increasingly ill due to asthma and he remained with his parents helping out the family with his pay. My grandfather, his father, passed away in 1950 and he married my mother Ruth (Yount) Smail in 1953. My sister Ruthie and I would be children of this marriage. (One sister, Glenna Mae passed away as a newborn baby. in 1962.)
My father was a simple and quiet man content to do his part in the American dream of the post war years. He worked hard to supply his families basic needs. Luxuries were not everyday expectations. My dad wasn’t a drinking man and he was a non-smoker. I guess he would have been considered “non-cool” by many individuals. At times I, regretfully, considered those thoughts. He wasn’t a jokester, but he enjoyed laughter. He was not a cussing man very rarely expressing such words even when injured by a hammer on the thumb. I became very proud of him as I grew up.
My father was an exceptional man. He would take along neighborhood friends or relatives on fishing and hunting excursions. Many times I would gather bait during the summer days and have the rods and tackle ready for when he would return from work. I am sure many times he, probably, would have rather rested or worked on home chores.
As the years rolled along I can look back and see changes in my dad. He was getting tired. A man capable to become much more than he did in life. He was in ways the “George Bailey” from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. He was always whistling while working during my youth. At sometime over the years this stopped. He may have thought as he aged, he missed so much of the life he had originally dreamed for. This we can never know. I, certainly, understand such things as I grow older and witness many lost dreams.
My interests in history came from the two of us watching westerns and war movies as a boy. I tagged along on morel and arrowhead hunting excursions from an early age. I trapped as a young boy through his guidance. I was proud to catch my first bluegills as he coached. I remember my first harvest of squirrels. The thrill of seeing my proud father with my first buck. These reasons and many others are why I love the outdoors with such a passion.
My father was having difficulties with walking as those years advanced. The family later learned he was the victim of some mini-strokes. On June 20th, 1999, Father’s day, I rushed to the Harmarville Rehab Center and had to be the person to tell my, later arriving, smiling mother that my dad, her husband, had passed away. Life changed drastically that day and it has never been the same. He has an arrowhead in his pocket, art prints and turkey feathers with him as he rests. I missed him in 1999 and I still miss him in 2013.
This brief memorial is for you dad on your 90th birthday! Thank you for the influences making me the man I am today!!!
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