Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Grandfather, Gust: Farmer, Father, Protector

Although I never knew him, I sometimes I like to imagine my grandfather, Gust Doyle, as a father on the farm where he grew up and lived as an adult.  My father kept his memories of his father close to his heart, never sharing them with his children.  It's only through my father's half sister than I came to know Gust.  She described Gust as easy-going, extremely kind, serious, yet with a sense of humor that allowed him to tease the children in the family.

Gust was a dairy farmer.  The barn stood deserted when we visited the farm a dozen or more years ago but it was easy to imagine Gust at home there milking the cows, cleaning horses' harnesses, oiling the tools in preparation for their winter rest.  I could imagine him mowing, baling, and unloading sweet-scented hay into the barn.

I like to think of my grandfather Gust taking his son, Lee, the little boy who became my father,  to the barn, pasture, and field with him as often as possible.  No doubt Gust taught his son how to feed and care for the animals on the farm; taught him about nature and other things of interest to little boys; and patiently answered his questions.  I imagine his son sitting on his knee as he drove the horses in the field, teaching and guiding little hands to learn to drive the horse, too.  All of this to the end of keeping him away from the house, protected and safe from the step-mother who didn't like him.

This post commemorates and honors Gust Doyle.  He was born this day, November 17, in the year 1888.  His life was cut short by cancer when he was just 44 years old.  I think of him as a hero.

Happy Birthday, Grampa!


  1. Happy Birthday Great grampa Gust!

  2. It's sad he died so young. That is such a nice photograph of him holding the baby.

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