Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Daddy

Going through old family pictures can bring a smile to your face, or tears to your eyes. Sometimes both.  I've been looking through the pictures my Momma gave me and I've found a great many pictures of my Daddy.  And I have had smiles and tears looking at them.

My Daddy was a great man.

Daddy, Momma, David, Joyce, Shelia and Larry

In my mind's eye I can still see my Daddy, walking in front of me and Momma and my oldest brother.  His white t-shirt bobbed along in the dusk of the evening, as he carried my baby brother home.  Summer evenings were spent on my grandparent's porch, until the robins called to each other from the yard and the trees. It was their bedtime, and it was getting close to ours.  Daddy always walked a few feet ahead of us, watching out for a car coming over the hill, or a rock or hole in the road we might stumble upon. He was always watching out for Momma, and watching out for his kids, even after we were grown. And then he watched out for his grandkids. And then his great-grandkids.

After I married and made my own home, he would call me daily, sometimes three or four times a day, sometimes while I was at work, just to see how my day was going, just because I was on his mind, just because he loved me. 

Sometimes he would tell me of a good deal he'd gotten at the store that morning. He always appreciated a good deal.  Or he'd tell me what he and Momma were going to do that day.

His wit was proof of a razor-sharp,keen intelligence. If you were around my Daddy for just a little while, you'd laugh because he had a different way of looking at life. And he could solve any problem using good common sense. He always worked hard, but was never one to follow money. He was content with Momma, his kids and a comfortable home. We never went without.

What he had could not be bought. He had the good simple life down to an art form.

Oh, but I can still see him, walking in front of us, carrying the least one of us, and watching out for all of us. He did that up until his last breath.

He has gone a few steps ahead of us, to a place where we all must go. I miss him so much and I can't write any more about that. It hurts too much.

I treasure this picture of my Daddy. He loved to work in the yard and could grow anything.

The sweet-looking little boy in the front is Daddy. The older boy is his brother, my Uncle Buddy. To Daddy's right is his sister Imogene. His sisters Robbie and Glenna are in the back. Two younger sisters, Mary Lynn and Carolyn Sue are yet to be born.  These children were scattered like kittens from a box after their mother died. The two youngest girls were raised by an aunt, and the others found homes where they could. Daddy found a home with his Aunt Molly Lively. My cousin Lloyd Lively said he can still remember seeing Daddy walking to their house. He was just a little boy then, maybe 8 or 9, looking for a place to live.  I have but a few memories of Aunt Mollie, but I love her for taking my Daddy in and giving him a home and love.

 Me, Daddy and Larry in May 1964
This picture was taken after my Aunt Glenna's funeral. In the front are my aunts, Mary Lynn, Carolyn Sue and Robbie. Glenna's husband Uncle Robert, my Daddy and Uncle Buddy in the back. Daddy and Buddy were not only brothers, but best friends. 

Even though they didn't really share a normal childhood together, they kept in touch and talked to each other a lot. They loved each other. The five sisters and two brothers, who were scattered like kittens from a box, are all gone now.

But, I can still see my Daddy, walking in front of us...watching out for us.......

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Visit to a Farm in Gruetli-Laager, Tennessee

Chuck, my Sweet Little Momma, our grandchildren and I visited a farm in Gruetli-Laager today.

The small town of Gruetli-Laager is located on the southern portion of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.  

It was founded in 1869 by Swiss immigrants who established a farming community. You can read more about Gruetli-Laager here:,_Tennessee

One hundred Swiss families purchased farmland, sight unseen. When they arrived they found the land was still in timber. No fields. No outbuildings. No money. Their first crop of hay was cut with kitchen knives because they had no money for tools. 

 You can read more about the Swiss immigrants here:

There are two original Swiss farms remaining in Gruetli-Laager and one of them belongs to my Uncle George and Aunt Martha. 

Snow from last week's snowfall covered the roads and pastures at the farm.

The outbuildings at the farm are the original outbuildings. They are over 125 years old. 

 LuLu the donkey loves my Aunt Martha. So does Arnold the dog. My Aunt Martha has a soft heart for animals.

My Uncle George carries round bales of hay to the pasture for the cows.

 The welcoming committee greeted us as soon as we arrived.

This is an outbuilding my grandchildren were totally unfamiliar with. Raise your hand if you know what it is.

The barns, corncrib and wellhouse are a soft, weathered gray. 

Ahhhh, how lovely she is. 
Cows always like to have their picture taken. This one is particularly photogenic.

 My granddaughter fed LuLu the donkey a handful of crackers.
And so did my Grandson.

 LuLu wanted a closeup. I couldn't refuse her.
 The cows demonstrated how they walk around in the pasture.

And did I mention Arnold, the Farm Dog, is going to have puppies? 
 Hub stands outside the Farmhouse.....

...while my Sweet Little Momma warms inside.

Our last stop was the hog pen.

They were really busy and didn't take time to watch us leave.

We enjoyed our visit to the old Swiss farm on this cold January day in Appalachia.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Mamaw

The remarkable woman in the picture below is my Mamaw. The date on the picture is January 1955. She was 38 years old when this picture was taken.

I love it that she's wearing black and white saddle oxfords and a dress while sweeping snow off the sidewalk. My Mamaw was an Appalachian lady.

I love the old truck in the background too.

My grandparents home was across the pasture from us and we loved going there. We didn't visit;  it was our second home.

Mamaw went to Heaven six months after my Papaw. I was so filled with grief that I wrote this poem about her.

My Mamaw
She made big cathead biscuits and apple stack cakes,
time to read her Bible and very few mistakes.
She's the one who first told me about lying and such,
and I always knew that she loved me so much.
I could see in her life, time and time again,
that she trusted Jesus as her closest Friend.

Long summer evenings we spent playing so hard,
and she would stand on her porch and call us in from her yard
because her favorite preacher was on black and white TV
telling us about Jesus and His death on calvary.
Then, with love in her heart, she would watch us walk home,
and she would pray for her grandkids when she was alone.

Plain and simple language is what she used when she spoke,
words like "yonder" and "reckon" and "vessels" and "poke".
Her home was a haven for mongrels and strays,
and they lived a good life under the care that she gave.
Her actions were always true, confident, and clear,
and loving her family was her lifelong career.

"Mansion on the Hilltop" was her favorite song,
and now when I hear it I always sing along.
I think about my Mamaw, walking now on streets of gold
and the love that she shared while on her earthly road.
I know, without a doubt, that I'll see her again
because I, too, have trusted Jesus as my closest Friend.

See you soon,

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Long Ago Snow

 Most of the Tennessee Valley woke up to more than six inches of snow today! People were sledding, riding four wheelers or, like me, they stayed indoors. I found a picture of my Momma and her two sisters taken during a snow many years ago.  
I love their smiles. Notice my Aunt Martha is the only one wearing pants? No toboggans either, they're wearing scarves tied under their chins.
My Sweet Little Momma is the sister on the left. You would never know that she is expecting a baby, to be born in May.
I love these three women dearly.

I want to include this picture of my Sweet Little Momma. There's no snow in the picture, but she looks so beautiful in her coat.

I hope you're warm and safe on this snowy day in Appalachia!

See you soon,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Long Time Ago....

See the little girl in the corner? That's me over 50 years ago! The year was 1960 and I was not-quite-two.
I was in my Mamaw's kitchen and Lord only knows why I was squatting in the corner. 

I love to look at old pictures. Even if I don't know the people in the picture, I still enjoy examining the clothes, hairstyles and surroundings.  And I remember more about my childhood if I look closely at our old family pictures and let my mind take me backwards. I was a happy little girl!

Here I am again. I'm pretty sure this picture was taken at my great-grandmother's house.  Little girls wore  dresses back in the '60s. I didn't own a pair of pants until I started junior high school!

My Sweet Little Momma gave me two boxes of old family pictures this afternoon so I could scan them and add them to this blog. I can't wait to see what I find in those boxes!

See you soon,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just Gettin' Started

Hello everyone! I hope to have real post here soon. Keep coming back, okay?