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Malynda Peeler: Honoring the men in my life for Father’s Day

Malynda Wilhelm Peeler, “Daddy’s Girl,” was born and raised and still lives in East Rowan.

As my husband Steve and I surf fish off the Carolina Coast, I reflect about the important men in my life and the great memories I have.

As I watch Steve cast into the ocean, I thank God he was brought into my life. Steve Peeler has and will always be my strength and the love of my life. He has led me through my darkest times and I will forever hold him in my heart.

Then there’s my Daddy, Donald Wilhelm — “Butch” is the name many of you know him by.

He is a man who loves cars and can fix almost anything that has a motor.

He taught me to hunt, farm and all about animals and nature. He taught me to respect the land and take care of what God has given us.

As long as I can remember, Daddy always had chickens or pheasants, and in fact, still has chickens today.

He also loved to hunt and run rabbit dogs. I myself was never much of a rabbit hunter, but I always loved to tag along to listen to the dogs. Beagles are such sweet little dogs, and loads of fun.

Daddy worked in Cannon Mills but he also farmed, as so many did in those days. One summer he bought a combine. He decided we would help out by cutting some of the other farmers’ fields. Now, remember this was in the late 1960s. This was not a combine like you see today — no air-conditioned cab or storage for the grain. He pulled this thing behind a tractor, and I helped by manually filling the sacks, hand-tying each one off and pushing the sack of grain down a shoot to be picked up and loaded onto a truck.

I don’t remember how many summers we did this. What I do remember is the time we spent together. Filling and tying the sacks was hard work and it was always hot — but I was with my Daddy. I will always be Daddy’s girl!

Then there was my grandfather, Hubert Wilhelm. He was a carpenter for many years and of course, a farmer. We always had a milk cow. Yes, I have milked a cow by hand — remember, I am a county girl! Each cow was named Sam; I never did figure that one out.

Like everyone else in the country we had a big garden and raised our own beef and pork. I loved these animals and played with them like pets. But then suddenly Aunt Linda would ask me to take me a ride with her to the grocery store or somewhere. It wasn’t until years later that I finally figured out why I always had to leave home on meat processing day.

Papaw Hubert loved to hunt and each winter would head to the North Carolina mountains to hunt deer. For my first birthday he brought me a small bull dog made of chalk, which I still have to this day. Everyone thinks it’s an ugly thing, but not me. I love him! Here I am, Papaw Hubert’s girl.

There was also my other grandfather, Elmer Beaver, or “Sling Shot,” as many of you remember him. He hunted with a sling shot and crafted the best ones you could find. He also loved to fish. He’s the one who taught me to fish with a cane pole, and bait a hook myself. In the summertime he would pick me up and we would head to Steel Bridge on High Rock Lake, climb down on the rocks and fish until dark, catching crappies and catfish. Here I am, Grandpaw Beaver’s girl.

You‘re probably wondering why I think I was their favorite. Well, I was the first grandchild on both sides of the family! But I was here first, and I am also the only girl with two brothers — so I claim the right to be my Daddy’s girl!



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