Saturday, March 7, 2009
I suppose life in our first home was pretty mundane; I don't have a lot of stored memories from there. One special memory I do have of this home was a room just off the front porch that was jam-packed with newsprint and Sears Roebuck catalogs – not to be confused with the "outhouse" which also had its stock of "print". Those catalogs provided unlimited hours of play as we cut from the pages our favorite images and they became our "paper dolls", as much a part of our lives as is today's generation's "Barbies"! It was in this home that red measles broke out in the family and, of course being the puny, sickly kid that I was, red measles hit me hard with its accompanying dangerously high fevers, heavy recurring nosebleeds and matted eyes rendering me blind on wakeup. It was a special time of family caring and concern as my aunts and my sisters would hover, sponging my burning body and bathing my eyes so that I could open them and see. It was during this period of time that our oldest sister would forever become the caregiver of our little family. She was the glue that held our mother together; the safe haven that we ran to; the stalwart one that we always looked to for the final word on any issue! It is thus today.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Our father had been a widower with a large family of his own and just happened to fall in love with a young girl with an independent streak and swept her off her feet. Against the wishes, and in spite of the admonishments of her own family, the two eloped and were married. There was a vast difference in age but certainly not in spirit. O, the tales Mother would tell us about a young farm girl's escape into romance with a handsome, strong preacher man who swept her up into a whirlwind of courtship, marriage, travel and babies. Our father was not a sentimental being and never looked backward, always moving forward. He taught his young bride to do the same; don't hold onto the past, leave it behind and go forth into a new day; a day promising opportunity, excitement and always – romance! Don't record events and hang them on the wall or record them in a journal and hold onto them. Take the new day as it comes and anticipate an even brighter dawn tomorrow. Not surprisingly, we grew up knowing little or nothing about our father's family. They did nothing to reach out to us nor did my mother call on them for assistance. We had little; they had much. They chose not to burden themselves with a young widow and four little children.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
And so our lives began – a mother and four little girls brought into a reality that life would be harsh but wonderfully rewarding; that storms would surely come but just as surely, if we kept our faith in God, that Joy Would Come in the Morning. After a couple of years at our grandparents' home we began a life with just the four of us – our youngest sibling being left behind with our grandparents – in an interdependent relationship of encouraging and uplifting each other. Our mother moved us out into a small farmhouse where she negotiated rent as a tenant farmer. The owner had cotton fields that needed workers and so it was that this would become our means of a blissful journey together as a family. It was always thus. We had nothing; but we were never poor! We wanted for nothing; because we had everything! The Lord was the source of our strength and He poured out His love through each of us individually to bring loving abundance each to the other!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Our faith, borne out over the years has withstood us through many a storm. It was taught to us as children, lived out before us and expressed in corporate worship. Weekdays would find all the extended young adult family members working Grandpa's crops of cotton, corn, whatever the season brought. We children had our jobs too, keeping the water supplied and, in mid‑afternoon delivering Grandma's special treat of the day, a hefty plate of flapjacks or perhaps her very special apple turnovers. We somehow managed to always find our way back to the field to pick up a ride on the horsedrawn sled bringing the tools in at day's end. Come Saturday, the day would be spent preparing for church on Sunday – we children giggling and teasing as we got our baths in a tub of rainwater warmed by the sun; polishing our shoes and finding our best socks, checking clothes to be worn, everything to be in readiness for Sunday morning. No time to fool around on Sunday morning; like as not, there was a chicken to be caught, killed, dipped and de‑feathered to be prepared for the meal later that day. Grandpa was the inspector general on Sunday mornings. He would check us out for appearance, socks turned down, no slip showing, etc. Grandpa would make sure that each one had a clean handkerchief in our pocket and he would give to each child a nickel for Sunday School.