Positive Thinking

I have believed in the power of positive thinking all
of my life. From the time I was named Joy, I have tried to live up to my name
by being positive.

As I grew older I read Norman Vincent Peale’s book,
The Power of Positive Thinking. Later I watched Rev. Schuler of the Crystal
Cathedral on television and read many of his books.

But over the years one person impressed me more than
any other and I want to tell you his story.

The year is 1898. On a farm in Indiana a young farm
couple, Mary and John Gadbury, are expecting their first child. They are
excited as they wait for the birth. The big day finally comes and John calls
the old country doctor. The birth goes well. Soon out pops a bouncing baby
boy!! They immediately give him the name they had chosen, Ernest Donald
Gadbury.

When the baby was about 2 months old, Mother Mary
noticed that something was wrong. The baby had an enlarged jaw. She immediately
contacted the old country doctor. On examination, he said, “I’ve never seen
anything like this. When you are able, drive to Indianapolis and take him to a
specialist.”

After a few months that is exactly what they did, but
the doctors there had no answers. Over the years the young couple traveled to
many other specialists. Eventually even to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. After
an examination and many tests they were told that the jaw would continue
to grow as the child grew, and that their child would not live past his mid
twenties.

Taking Ernest, now called E.D. home, they raised him
with positive thinking. They encouraged him to not give up and to make plans for
the future. They had four more sons, all healthy, and raised them with the same
philosophy.

E.D. was very smart and decided that if his life was
going to be short he would put it on fast forward. He graduated from high
school early and acquired a teaching certificate. He wanted to see the world
and he wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, so he
applied for a job “out west.” He was hired as the lead teacher at a school in Glendive,
Montana. Using all of the money he had saved up he bought a brand new suit and
a train ticket. His dream had come true. He would be a teacher out west.

Excitement rose in his chest as the train came nearer
and nearer to his final destination. He changed into his new suit of clothes.
As the train ground to a halt in the little town, he could see a big crowd
waiting on the platform to greet him. E.D. proudly stepped off the train to
meet his new students.

He was greeted by the County Superintendent of Schools.
On seeing his physical appearance, she immediately said, “No way is that man
going to teach OUR children. Not with a face like that!” E.D. was devastated;
there would be no teaching job. The president of the school board who had hired
him felt very sorry for the young man. He offered to take him into his home and
gave him a job on his farm until he could earn enough to return to Indiana.

During that very long, lonely year E.D. had plenty of
time to think. Eventually the teaching of his positive parents began to play in
his ear. If no one would hire him, he decided, he would run his own business!
And that is exactly what he did. He had many businesses in his lifetime. He
formed and coached a traveling basketball team, ran a grain elevator, raised
pure bred dogs and “invented” a new bred. He established the Dunkirk Ice and
Coal Company and owned a Standard Oil gasoline station. In retirement he
started the Just-a-Mere Chicken Ranch, but being a people person, that was not
interesting enough, so he opened the Pinellas Park Cab Company.

E.D. had married a beautiful woman and had four
beautiful children. He traveled with the family to every state in the nation
sharing his love of his beloved America with his children. It took daily
courage to face the taunts and stares that meeting new people required, but he
always held his head high. Nothing ever held this man back.

This man taught me how to live a positive life and to
rise above challenges. I’m proud to say that E. D. Gadbury was my father.

Joy J. Golliver

Splendido Writers Club

July, 2007