Let's take a walk through a brand new day.
Family, cow patties, silver spoons, and misplaced memories
The holidays are behind us and the memories of family and friends in our homes are slowly beginning to fade. Hopefully, the stressful memories are gone and the good ones are lingering. For me, family memories are many and almost always happy. We have a HUGE extended family and are blessed to have remained close. My dad was one of 17 brothers and sisters. My mom was one of nine. When all of these relatives began having children and their children had children and their children’s children had children, the family logistics became very confusing. I’m still confused about what to call my relatives. I can’t remember whether they are my second cousins, or third cousins, or first cousin once removed, or twice removed! One of my relatives just calls everybody “cousin”. I’m cousin Karen and then there’s cousin Gail and cousin Chris, and cousin Cody, and cousin Gary and cousin Linda and so on. We know we’re related and we can even tell you how. “That’s Ray’s daughter’s son’s cousin’ on her mama’s side.” Let’s just say it gets complicated. There are hundreds and hundreds in the Lord family! My dad told me that if I ever ran into someone who had the last name Lord, I should assume that I was kin to them. So, I do.
This past weekend, my dad’s oldest brother and his wife celebrated 70 years of marriage! Family and friends convened in church, followed by a church potluck lunch and a reception to honor the happy couple. My Uncle Minton is 94 and his lovely wife, Mildred, is 93. They met during the depression, fell in love, and have been happily married ever since. Well, so says Uncle Minton! Aunt Mildred says there were paved roads, bumpy roads and even some muddy roads in the marriage! Of course she said that with a smile and a chuckle and admitted that they just worked through the tough times, said a little prayer, and came out stronger on the other side. It was so much fun watching Uncle Minton tell about his courtship and how he fell in love with “the little girl in the blue dress” who just happened to be a “preacher’s daughter”. Mildred smiled through his rendition of the courtship and marriage, occasionally giving us signs that his words weren’t exactly how she remembered it! It was a joy to watch their interactions. You could feel the love.
Uncle Minton was the oldest son whose father died when he was just 17. This left Uncle Minton to run the very large farm and take care of his mother and all those brothers and sisters. He did it and did it well. His family was never hungry during the depression since his family raised everything they needed to eat, had enough to trade for goods and services, and even gave to those who were much less fortunate. Clothes were made from flour sacks and given to those who had nothing. Quilts were made from ragged clothing, and old clothes were made new with mending. Most of us can’t begin to imagine the poverty and suffering during that time. We certainly can’t imagine our 17-year-old son being responsible for a large farm and family.
As you can imagine, lots of stories were told at the 70th anniversary celebration. Grandchildren told stories of being allowed to play in the “mud” and later being told that they were playing in cow patties. Cow what? You know, cow poop! Another child told of what happens when you hold on to a live electric fence, while another grandchild told what happens when allowed to “pee” on an electric fence! A nephew told of picking cotton all morning in the hot sun and being so excited to get his paycheck only to find out that the earnings equaled $1.27! A niece then yelled out, “Hey, you were lucky! I only got 41 cents in my first check from Uncle Minton!”
Grandaddy/Uncle Minton gave them quite an education with some tough life lessons included! Grandmother Mil as she was affectionately called, was the one that soothed their wounds and fed them excellent meals of fresh meat and vegetables while imparting life lessons and words of wisdom.
There’s a certain toughness that is present when those in the greatest generation have an opportunity to reminisce. But there is also an air of kindness, integrity, and honor. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by so much family and so much wisdom. We gather together as often as we can and each time, there is always a potluck lunch where we find ourselves reminiscing about family and good times. We gather to stay close and remember our legacy. I’m fortunate to have been born into the Lord clan and must admit that I’m very proud of my heritage. From silver spoons to tattered clothes, to cow patties and beyond, the family memories are varied, numerous, and priceless. May we have many more opportunities to laugh and reminisce about the good old days. May the Lord family live long and prosper.