MY oldest boy's name was Jonathan, and the youngest David—though they weren't called that anywhere but in the family Bible—just Jon and Dave. Except when people got the Bible and the boys mixed up and called them David and Jonathan—sometimes David and Goliath!
Jon was the oldest and Dave the youngest and there was four years between. Jon didn't seem to care much for anybody else after Dave was born, and Dave never inquired if he had any parents as long as Jon took charge of him. Well—I have to acknowledge that Jon made a better daddy to Dave than I did. Dave's mother died when he was born and I took it hard. Didn't notice, like I ought, what was going on. But Jonathan took entire charge of Dave. He'd carry the little chap, before he yet could walk, a couple of miles on his back and fix him fast in the fork of a tree while he fished. And when they got home he'd swear that Dave had caught all the fish. And they'd all have to be cooked—minnies just an inch long, sometimes!—which always made a fuss between Jon and Betsy, the cook.
Yes, Jon was a good fisherman, and a good boss. He always got his way. But it was by gentleness. He used to preach to me, his own daddy, when he got older, about gentleness being stronger than anger, because, I suppose, I used to break glass when I got mad.
Only one ever got away with Jon's gentleness by kicking, and that was little Dave. Why, when he grew old enough to fish himself, he never caught a thing and he ruined Jon's reputation as a fisherman. He couldn't keep quiet a minute! He'd sing songs and tumble summersets and scare the fish away and get tangled in the lines—sometimes come home crying with the hooks in him. Jon used to call him the King. But I called him Parliament. I expect he was both.
Always, on the farm, one went to college to learn and the rest stayed at home to work—if there was more than one son in the family, as there always was. So it was since seventeen hundred and ten—when we first got the farm—so it was with my brother Henry, Evelyn's stepfather and me, and so it had to be with my sons Jonathan and David. Germans like to obey the ways of their ancestors from generation to generation.