Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

Old McDonald Had a Farm for Christmas

Old McDonald had a farm for Christmas

The following is simply the most captivating story I’ve ever featured on my blog. When I first posted “Old McDonald Had a Farm for Christmas,” it lit up social media for days. Here’s the story in its entirety once again. Please share this riveting story with others during this Christmas season.

To introduce Harry Phillips as Dr. Harry V. Phillips, III, M.D., of the Memphis Children’s Clinic would be the under-introduction of a lifetime.  He is one of the most-beloved members of the DeSoto County community, and his love and care for his patients and their families is legendary.  He is known to most simply as Dr. Harry.

I have my own stories of Dr. Harry.  Like how my daughter used to hide under the examining table until Dr. Harry walked in.  Sick as she often was, she would tease, “Dr. Haaaaarrryyy…” until he found her.  Dr. Harry matches wits with the Little Fella in their shared passion of identifying the flags of the world.  But this is not a day for my stories.  Read as Dr. Harry shares how Old McDonald had a farm for Christmas.

Old McDonald Had a Farm for Christmas

Old McDonald Had a Farm for Christmas

Major Harry Vester Phillips, Jr.

One thing that I will always treasure about a particular Christmas is the memory of hearing my father’s voice for the first time. I was 21 years old, and my dear wife, Robbie, was 22, as we celebrated our first Christmas together 29 years ago in a small apartment in Whitehaven. My father had been deployed to Vietnam before my 3rd birthday as a medivac helicopter pilot and 8 months later in August of 1966, he and his co-pilot were killed on a mission to bring back one of “our boys.”

Link to a tribute page for Dr. Harry’s dad here.

My saintly mother was widowed with four young children (4y, 3y, 2y, and 9m) and proceeded to raise us with the hope and faith of one who knows that God is “a father to the fatherless and a judge of the widows.”  My siblings and I grew up hearing wonderful stories about my father, of his love and devotion to family, country, and his Savior.  He was truly a hero; he was my hero.

Old McDonald Had a Farm for Christmas9000 Miles and 18 Years Away

In December of 1984, one of my father’s sisters made cassette copies of an old reel-to-reel tape my father had recorded in Vietnam in 1966, and gave them to each of my siblings and me as Christmas gifts. On Christmas morning Robbie and I sat together in an oversized easy chair and listened to my daddy sing to his children from 9000 miles and 18 years away.

He sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and asked us to sing along. He “clucked” and “oinked” and “mooed” and “E I E I O’d” and we laughed and cried, and laughed and cried again. He talked to each of us. He asked me, “Harry, how is my big working man?” His words expressed the love he had for his bride and the pride that he had in his children. I am forever grateful for the priceless heritage that he left us, and I know that I have not heard my daddy’s voice for the last time.

Dr. Harry Phillips

December 2013


Other Values Storying Christmas-Themed Posts

“Mama Bluebird and the Best Christmas Ever”

“The 12 Tweets of Christmas”

“Questions About Christmas: Santa, Elf on a Shelf, and Jesus”

“An Open Letter Seeking Clarification About Christmas Music”

“The Huge Box in the Station Wagon”

“25 Red Christmas Ribbons: The Next Generation”[/callout]



About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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