The Dart: Daniels overcomes many obstacles

Published 4:03 pm Monday, January 29, 2007

For Finley Daniels, 88, it’s been a long and challenging life.

Daniels now lives at 103 Pecan Way Drive in O’Neal and Ross Assisted Living, though he seems not to need much assistance. He sits, stands, walks and eats on his own, with a walker for balance.

And he certainly doesn’t need help talking about his experiences and his family.

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His life started out with a challenge. At the end of World War I, his mother caught the German measles while she was pregnant with him, Daniels said.

“I had the measles when I was 14 days old,” Daniels said.

But that didn’t seem to do him much harm. He was the oldest of six siblings living in Pearl River County.

“We were a big family,” Daniels said.

“A poor family, but a big family. We stuck together. Whatever we did, we did together.”

Daniels’ mother caught malaria and died when she was just 35 years old, he said.

“The mosquitoes back then were huge,” he said.

“They would eat you up.”

With just an eighth grade education, Daniels did well for himself and his family. He worked 37 years in the oil business, he said, most of it in the Natchez area.

Some years into it, Daniels faced another challenge while working on oil pumping equipment.

“I lost part of my hand pumping oil,” Daniels said. “I got my hand under a belt.”

He was in the hospital for days, he said, and the necessary surgery left him with a thumb and an appendage. He just had one request for the surgeon.

“I told the doctor to fix it where I could hold a fishing pole, because I was going to do a lot of fishing,” Daniels said.

It worked, he said, and he can still do pretty much anything except hook small bait.