~ The pieces are all sewn together, stitched with love.........and a quilt tells a story and the story is our past ~
The Arrowood family immigrated from England to Maryland in the 1700's. They went south, eventually settling in the mountains of North Carolina. Later , some went further south, into the Piedmont of North Carolina, in search of work and a better way of life.
I am in search of my family.
I search for those that came before me, and lived their lives as best they could. I am in search of their stories, how they lived, and how they loved.
I shared this love of seeking the past with my Dad, sharing each new finding with him, the thrill in his heart intermingling with mine. I continue this search in his honor, and hope to know these people of ours when I join up with them all in heaven.
~ Steve Lewis Arrowood 1932-2008 ~
Come with me, back to a simpler time and place. A place far removed from the hectic pace of today. To a time when life was hard, but the rewards were great. When your quality of life was determined by your own sweat, your own toil, and your own ingenuity.
Would you like a glass of sweet tea? Let's sit out on the porch where we will catch the sweetly scented breeze of summertime. Maybe Grandma will fry up some of her wonderful chicken... Time slows here.
"We shape our lives not by what we carry with us, but what we leave behind."
~You live as long as you are remembered.~
"Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories. " Author: Unknown
"But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you from the wisdom of former generations."
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The Story of Ray Everett
Ray Everett Arrowood was born May 23, 1922 in Gastonia, North Carolina. He was the son of Lewis William “Pat” Arrowood and his first wife, Edith Davis Arrowood.
Edith passed away, when Ray was just shy of being two and half years old. So sad to lose your Mom before you have time to know her. Sadder still , to not be allowed many memories of the lady that gave birth to you, to carry you on, through life.
Ray soon had a younger sister, who was born when he was the age of seven. Hilda Faye Arrowood was born, the daughter of Lewis "Pat" and Maude Hull Arrowood. Then a baby brother was born three years later, Steve. Steve and Ray soon became inseparable. Steve idolized his big brother and wanted to be just like him. In later years, when my Dad would recount his younger days, there would always be a 'far-away look' that come over his eyes, as he remembered his beloved brother, Ray. A smile would come to his face, remembering their special bond.
Ray had an Uncle Bob, Rufus "Bob" Preston Davis, that came to visit him in North Carolina. Bob was a brother to his mother, Edith. Bob was born November 06, 1894, son of James R. (Jack) Davis and Anna Ledbetter Davis, as was Edith and three other siblings.
Reluctantly, William Lewis “Pat” allowed his son, Ray, when he was about 14, to go to Hobbs, New Mexico to spend the summer with his Uncle Bob and Aunt Mae. Once he discovered New Mexico, Ray decided to stay out in Hobbs and live. I am sure it was an exciting place to a young fellow, more of a ‘new frontier” type of environment than North Carolina, I suppose. Oil rigs were plentiful and he soon started working on one.
Ray enlisted in the United States Army on May 16, 1944 .
Years passed and Steve followed Ray out to New Mexico, to work with him on the oil rigs. Steve eventually returned home and had lots of stories to tell.. Rodeo riding, Oil rigs, tumbleweeds, wild escapades , and the like.
Ray’s Uncle Bob passed away when Ray was 21 years old.
Ray worked as a driller on an oil rig.
Ray married his sweetheart, Martha, in 1940, in Seminole, Gaines County, Texas.
They had three beautiful daughters.
Then one day in May, 1963, tragedy struck. The following account is from Ray’s youngest daughter:
“What was being done (on the rig) was very dangerous, and Ray would not even start the drilling back up, until all his men were off the floor. There were two other men with Ray, that were trying to help. There are chains, two of them, on the tongs, one on each side (of the drilling mechanism). One was broken and they were only operating with one chain. The two tool ‘pushers’ for the company he worked for were on the floor with him, one of them said, “We will just do it anyway“ , and then Ray said, “Not with my men on the floor!” Ray instructed them both, that they would have to help him. So he started the pipe spinning to drill down in the hole, the pipe was almost at full speed, the other chain broke and the tongs went in two different directions.”
Ray saw that one of the tongs was going to hit his friend Albert, so he knocked him out of the way and Ray was hit. One hit him on the front of his body and the other on his back. These tongs weigh thousands of pounds. They are bigger than a man, they clamp around the pile and they are supposed to help hold the pile for the drilling. The force of the blow to his body was tremendous, crushing him in an instant.
The man that insisted on Ray going on ahead, without the proper precautions, was never able to let this go, and had a hard time with it. The other man had horrible nightmares for years. Ray's daughter remembers:
“The men that were helping Dad, were both very good friends of our family. All of his workers kept telling my mom, over and over again, that my daddy was so brave, that he cared so much about everyone else. They had all said they would help, but Ray said “No“.”
Ray truly wanted to protect everyone else.
(The following are memories of Ray’s daughter.)
Daddy was always the type of person who would be one of the first to help others, he would do his share and more. He always continued to help our Aunt Mae even after Uncle Bob had died. Aunt Mae was only an aunt by marriage, but that was the kind of person he was, he even helped her mother and sister, just like there were his real true family. Any time a neighbor or a friend needed help he was there. He would even help the less than fortunate, those who could not afford to help themselves. I remember him giving money to those who needed it, he was always worrying about others.
He loved his wife, his children and dreamed of being a grandfather and was a good one for the short time he had to be a grandfather. He would go and pick up his grandson that lived close by. He would take him home and play with him, watch him and would talk about the times he would spend taking him fishing and hunting, which never came about.
When he died he had four grandchildren and was so happy to talk about them. He had big dreams, as any man of his age would have, the sad thing is he never got to fulfill those dreams. He was and still is truly missed by myself and my two sisters. I hate that my children never got to meet him or know the man that I knew and loved.
I have so many fond memories of him, my strongest memory was Christmas. He loved Christmas with a passion, he loved it so much that he could not wait to decorate the house for Christmas. He always enjoyed listing the song by Bing Crosby called, “White Christmas” and to this day I can hear that song and it will bring tears of joy to me. I still have to watch the movie White Christmas each year for no other reason than to remember those wonderful Christmas’s that we had with him.
Ray had gotten the company’s “Safety Award” for two years running, until that week, one other man was hurt on his rig, and then Ray was killed. By all accounts, Ray was a man with genuine caring for others, a man with a huge heart.
He was a kind, brave man that looked out for everyone else‘s well being.
He died one day before his 41st birthday. He is buried at Prairie Haven Cemetery in Hobbs, Lea County, New Mexico.
~ May 23, 1922 b. ~ May 24, 1963 d. ~ Well done, Uncle Ray.
Martha, Ray Everett, Hilda, and Lewis "Pat" William Arrowood