Monday, June 21, 2010

This Artist's Father; an "Homage."

Looking back on my childhood, it now seems very "Norman Rockwellian," to me.
Having parents whose roots were as farmers, and also owners of the local Country Store,
certainly contributed, in a big way, to forming me as the artist I continue to be.
Note that the price of gas, in the early '60s, was .31 cents a gallon.

 Here are my parents, Bud and Helen Ternay, when they were dating,
in the thirties. Dad's first name is actually William, but the nickname "Buddy" stuck
because everyone agreed he was quite the handsome man, and looked a lot like
a popular movie actor of the time, "Buddy" Rogers.

This is a picture of my Dad and me, when I suspect I was about three.
Pop had stopped working in the local Feed Mill, and had returned to his first love,
farming, to provide for his young family. As someone who has always enjoyed
communing with his fellow humans, he soon was selling vegetables out of the
back of his truck, as a "Huckster." Buying the store up the road was an obvious
next move.

To this day, at the ripe age of 97, he still enjoys driving around the farmland he's known
and loved all these many years. He ventures within a 10 or 15 mile radius of his house,
which sits in a field where I used to sweat, as a kid, picking cucumbers under
the hot, humid, South Jersey sun.

Over the years Dad  became well known for making wonderful "Subs," and during the
holidays, delicious Pumpkin Pies. When he finally retired and turned the store over to my
brother Bob, Pop was honored as "Citizen of the Year,"  which really irked our Mother,
'cause she, most definitely, had been right there at his side, working long hours pumping
gas, filling shelves, and raising her sons, just as Pop had done.

Throughout his life, our Dad has enjoyed taking naps, in the afternoon. I suspect that
ritual, and also never having smoked or drank, has contributed to his ongoing longevity.
He sent me to Art School on money made playing "the Horses," which he still does.

 He can tell you the history of every horse he ever bet on, the jockey who rode him, and
what everybody ordered for dinner, on the drive back from the track, 30 years ago. 
And for the past 10 years, he has been singing many of his favorite old songs, like
"Send Me The Pillow You Sleep On," into his tape-recorder, and doing so
"A Capella," in a strong voice. He's been known to leave his songs on the message
machines of female friends, who call him every day, to see if he's OK.     

Although this tough old South Jersey farmer is slowing down more than a bit,
I cannot tell you how many times, as we enter his Doctor's Waiting room for
a check-up, he smiles at a fellow patient, and asks. "You know my only problem
these days? Too many Birthdays!"
I can only hope to be so fortunate. And in fact, I am.
Bud Ternay is my Father.


  1. What a wonderful tribute to your father. Thank you for sharing it on your blog.

  2. Thanks Nancy,
    I recall reading a comment about men and their Dads; "Men go through life trying to please
    their Fathers, even after the Father is dead."
    I can't worry about the reasons, but for me,
    I suspect this has a ring of truth.
    Our Father never laid a hand on us boys, but if we didn't do what he wanted, he'd say,"Do it or I'll put my foot up your butt!"
    My thought was always; "Wow! He sure has big shoes!" (hee-hee)
    These days he's a Pussy Cat.