Henry, Daddy and me with our dog Teddy.

My father was a farmer.

He was just 23 years old when I was born. Three years later, my brother Henry entered our world.

We were sharecroppers living on an 80-acre dairy farm near Manheim, Pennsylvania. My memories of this farm are almost entirely happy ones.


Below is an excerpt from Chapter 15, “Dueling with Daddy,” from my forthcoming memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

Intro: One early summer day, when Henry and I were about three years older than we are on the picture above, Daddy came home with a new bike for Henry. When I saw how much nicer Henry’s bike was than mine, I decided to take matters into my own hands. As readers will have discovered, this decision often leads to trouble:

Daddy‘s love language was limited but very powerful. It reaches past my teen-year conflicts with him to memories of him as a grandfather to our son Anthony and then to his too-early death in 1980.

My Father's Day New Beginning: Kale with omelet and fresh pineapple.

My New Beginning today? Usually Stuart makes our breakfasts. Today I made an omelet with kale and fresh pineapple in a bowl on the side. When I presented the platter, I drizzled on some sea salt and thought of Daddy making that pinstripe on my whitewall bike tires.

P.S. Don’t forget to register your New Beginnings here. You have 89 more days to win the three prizes.

89 days until Blush launches. Heart-shaped Redbud leaves for Daddy.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Joanne Hess Siegrist on June 16, 2013 at 9:25 am

    89 countdown – NEW for me is kale fresh from my garden – one bushel picked last evening to freeze… and also for this morning’s breakfast. From what I understand… #1 most nutritious vegetable. Cheers.

  2. shirleyhs on June 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Yes, we enjoyed fresh kale at two meals today and are feeling very healthy. 🙂

    Your garden must be a wonder to behold. Keep up those New Beginnings.

  3. Joan rough on June 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Wonderful story, Shirley. I’m counting the days with you!

    • shirleyhs on June 17, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Thanks, Joan! Hope you have a great and productive week of writing. Eager to read your book too!

  4. Linda Gartz on August 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Great story of love displayed. Reminds me of a trip we took out west in 1959, when I was ten. I fell in love with some furry little stuffed pink kittens in a basket at Knotts Berry Farm, but was told I couldn’t have them (can’t recall if Mom and Dad concurred or just one.) We left. I cried and cried. I certainly didn’t expect to get whatever I wanted, but I just loved those sweet kittens. We were on the road and I was crying, but not whining. Dad suddenly wheeled the car around and took us back to get the two little kittens. I remember being so surprised. I never expected that and thought I’d just have to “suck it up.” Those kittens represented not a moment of being “spoiled” as some might have interpreted it, but loved, and I treasured them into my twenties.

  5. shirleyhs on August 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Linda, you are I are traveling through life in tandem, almost exactly the same age.

    I think every parent should be consistent in the way they handle discipline, but at least once they should break out of the pattern and do something extravagant for love.

    Sounds like both of us had fathers who gave us this gift. Maybe that’s why we are telling stories today! All best with yours.

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