August 24, 2007

You Can Be Sure

Your sins WILL find you out!

Sharecropper's Shack

Remember the story about mama's mortification over the stolen chicken? Well, the little sharecropper's shack that we lived in looked just like this picture. It's not the house--this one may be a little bigger, but when I saw this, I was taken aback, because at first I thought I was looking at the very house!

When Mama remarried, she was working in another state, and I was living with my grandmother in Georgia.

I remember when Big Mama told me that Mama had gotten married, and they would be there in a few days. Mama got married! That meant I would have a daddy. At last, a daddy! I could hardly contain my was all I could think about, and I must have asked Big Mama a thousand questions about him, but she knew no more than I did.

At last the day came, and Big Mama and I were standing out in the yard, looking up the dirt driveway that led up to our house. Finally, we saw them coming, walking up the road, having walked from the bus station in town. My heart felt as if it might burst! There was Mama. My little short mama with the shining blond hair. And next to her, a tall, handsome man with curly dark hair.

They were walking with their arms around each others' waist, and I just started running toward them as fast as I could run! When I got about halfway there, he knelt down and held out his arms to me, and I ran into them, and he swung me up in the air, putting me on his shoulders, a leg hanging over each one, and he carried me, laughing that laugh that only Daddy could laugh, the rest of the way back to the house. From that second on, he became my Daddy until the very second he died--while I was holding him.

Mama had met him in the town where she worked. He was a widower with six children, whose wife had been dead for over a year. The next day after they got there, we got on a bus going to Alabama, to a place called Sand Mountain. All the way there, I kept expecting to see a big old mountain made of sand, but it was called that because of the soil in that particular part of Alabama, and of course, it was up the mountain.

When we got there, one of his nephews met us and took us home. And what we went to was a little house which looked just like the one in this picture.Daddy was a sharecropper, and this was the sharecropper's shack. It had two rooms, and a smaller little room which was the kitchen. That was it. And we , Mama and Daddy, and five of my step-siblings (the oldest son was on his own) all lived in that little house.

I had never seen anything like it in my life. Big Mama wasn't rich, but she had nice things. This house had a plank floor, with cracks wide enough to see the ground underneath, and plank walls with cracks wide enough to look out through in the winter to see the icicles hanging on the nearby trees. There was no bathroom inside. It was down a little trail a little distance from the house. There was no running water. There was a well in the back of the house, though, with the coldest water you ever tasted. That supplied our drinking, cooking, and bathing water. A big old metal washtub was where we took our baths--in water heated in a special compartment of the woodstove in the kitchen.

It sounds primitive, I know--and it was. But for me, at that time, it was home. Home with a mama and a daddy--and oh yeah, some stinking mean stepsisters and a stepbrother, too. That might be another story.

Seasons of Life

There was an Indian Chief who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping withfruit, full of life and fulfillment.
The man then explained to his sons that each of them had reported correctly, because they had each seen but one season in the tree's life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season,and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are passed.
If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, the fulfillment of your fall.
Moral: Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge life by one difficult season. Persevere through the difficult seasons and better ones are sure to come.