Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Takin' Time Tuesday...Papa Had Plenty Of Time
My family and I, with my dad and Miss Catherine, recently road by the old home place and the cemetery. Memories flooded my mind, and I thanked God for the profound influence an already elderly man, by the time I arrived, had on my young life. (the gentleman below is my father)
My earliest remembrance of my great-grandfather is when I was around five years old. He was seventy years older than I, part Cherokee and part Irish, and fit as a fiddle. I very fondly remember following his every footstep and trying to keep up with him. He plowed with a mule named Shorty, and I was often found trying to walk in the prints his large boots made in the beautiful Alabama dirt.
He would make the hundred mile trip to pick me up, and I thought he and I were driving cross country as we headed back to his rural home. It did take quite a while since he rarely drove his car over thirty miles per hour and stopped at every DQ between my home and his. He'd offer to get for me whatever I wanted and a hamburger patty would be purchased for his dog Pepper.
One of my memories is of when I was five or six years old and my father *retired* Papa's old outhouse and installed an indoor bathroom. It was placed in a corner of a lean-to screened porch which crossed the back of the house and held freezers, canning equipment, a lovely collection of baskets for collecting eggs or produce, and always a number of seeds in the process of drying and awaiting their time to be planted in the good southern dirt.
But guess what happened to the retired outhouse? My cousin and I took turns making it into our play house. There was also a cute and larger well house, but we both wanted to *live* in the retired outhouse. We had to negotiate! Often!
I made mud pies, mud soup and practiced kneading skills by making mud biscuits. And all while enjoying the shade of a giant pecan tree. Sometimes my cousin would get to come and spend the day. Mildred, my Papa's wife, would supply us with plenty of extra old spoons, a pot, and a few chipped or retired dishes.
There was a certain rhythm and consistency to the days which provided a sense of security and peacefulness which this girl craved and thrived under. And there was rarely any hurry to get to the next activity or place. Life was slow. And simple. And wonderful. And I longed to stay there. Forever.
Eggs were collected each morning, and the chickens were given a bit of corn and table scraps. I collected them in a cute little handmade basket which my Papa had made. With his encouragement, I learned to enter the chicken's domain (hen house) despite my fear of them. I walked right in and took the eggs from beneath them - even though they made a terrible racket and scolded me severely, or so I thought.:) Once there was a very large chicken snake, but Papa saved the day and the eggs.
Days on the farm began early as Papa got up at 4:00 am each morning. And bedtime was linked to the sun and pretty much the same as when the chickens went to roost.
He stayed up *late* one night per week. That was so he could watch the man who tap danced on the Lawrence Welk Show. The lights went out as soon as the gentleman danced.
There were barns which held stored foods and feed for the animals, fruit trees which could be eaten from at any time I wanted, and Papa and I would walk through the garden together eating muscadines. He'd then ask me to pick out a watermelon (my favorite) and cut it open under the pecan tree. Pure bliss.
Mildred was always canning things, and most evenings were spent sitting in the rocking chairs or front porch swing and shelling beans or something from the garden. They each had a large metal pan in which they placed hot water and soaked their tired feet. I loved the creaking sound the rockers made and the feeling that I was contributing somehow while helping to put away food. I'm not sure how much I actually helped, but the fact that they allowed me to enter into their work and lives benefited me in so many ways.
Papa didn't have a lot of money. He had plenty of time. He MADE time. And he invested his time in me. Those hours sitting on the porch swing or on the block wall weren't idle. Papa was transferring information. And morals. And principles. And wise warnings. I'm not sure he knew, but he was. And I listened. Because he CARED enough to invest his TIME.
Life on the farm with Papa wasn't Six Flags or an amusement park, but life on the farm with Papa was just what this girl needed. And wanted. Someone who cared. Someone who had time. For me. And God knew.
My Papa died one year after Tom and I married and before we had any children. But he had a profound influence on our view of them and their needs.
While not all children will grow up on a farm or have a farm experience, almost ALL need more time and less things. I believe that with all my heart. Simple pleasures. Time to think. Pray. Create. Read. Work. Study. Enjoy God's creation. Ponder. Serve. Learn at the feet of those wiser than themselves.
So whenever I find myself forgetting those things... and failing to look into their eyes and really listen... and concerning myself to much with giving them more things rather than more time... memories of Papa remind me of what's truly important.
So this post is a tribute to Auburn Oscar Lowrimore. My great-grandfather. A man who had plenty of time. For a little girl. And who made a difference. In a young life.
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