~ 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."
Friday, December 18, 2009
Dad was such a fun, unique personality.
We went to Mexico in the summer of 2002 and stayed at a resort in Playa Del Carmen, a sleepy little town that lies just south of Cancun. We explored the “Avenue Cinco” in Playa and Dad was just elated to be there. He marveled at the ingenuity of the Mexican architecture, even down to the pedestal beds at the resort. He ventured out ahead of us, each morning before daylight, eager to see what he could see.
He was always so fun to be around because he welcomed each new happening in life as an exciting new door to open. I saw the place anew through his enthusiasm and joy, simply being there was joy to him.
I wish that enthusiasm for life for everyone, to greet the morning sun with an anticipating smile, with the wonderful prospect that the day holds, stretched out before us, like a dazzling gem. Each day is a new page to turn, a new chapter to begin. That next day begins the rest of our lives. God gives us this gift every morning. A new food to try, a new experience, like jumping off a ledge into a ceynote without a thought....Dad was really into life and never failed to try new things. Even eating cactus, pan grilled..grin.
When the time came, Dad was not ready to let life go.
I guess none of us are. He loved living. We all have a time allotted for us to be here on earth, and I suppose that God in his wisdom decided that Dad’s time had passed. We do not know how many days we are destined to live, this very day may be our last. We must remember this and live each moment as if it were the very last.
Dad whispered to me in his final moments. I hear it sometimes, when I am just about to fall asleep. I hear that whisper when I am sitting at my desk at work. When I am miles away in thought, working on something, that small whisper will somehow find me.
He said,“ I don't know how much longer I can do this”.
He was clinging to life, desperately hanging on with all his might. He did not want to let go. He did not want to leave us, despite the pain. That invisible thread that holds us here on this earth..once it slips from our grasp we slip over to the other side, and we are gone. Dad had a hold on that string, holding tight.
He was not quite ready to let go of his grasp. That haunts my heart and I guess it always will. Struggling as he was, he still did not want to leave us all. That was pure strength. Strength of Heart. Strength of Spirit. Strength of Faith.
Dad was always taking care of those that needed taking care of. He bathed my Mom's father near the end of his life, when dementia had it's ugly grip on the man. Dad did above and beyond what many son-in-law's would have done. He simply saw the need and stepped up to the plate. He extended that same selfless kindness to countless others. Breakfast to an elderly man that lived alone. A flowery apron brought to an older lady that had very little that was "pretty". Age did not matter to Dad, neither did the color of the person's skin, or how much they possessed in this life. If there was a need for a 'hand', there was Dad to extend it.
Steve was not an openly religious man, not one that attended church services regularly, but he was of God. God's love showed through him, without a doubt.
Sometimes rough around the edges, but the heart was made of gold.
Godspeed toward the place where all happy, blessed souls in Heaven gather at Christmastime.
May Angels Surround You In Heaven, Dad.
I miss you.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina
(Click on the pictures, to get larger, better ones!)
Christmas Tree of Orchids
Tell Santa What You Want
Wall of Orchids
A Flash of Purple
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides to see the Lighted Gardens
Monday, December 14, 2009
The Angel of Maupin Row
By Eddie Le Sueur
Printed in the Johnson City Press
Reecie Tipton was only 18 when she fell in love with Theodore Roosevelt Arrowood.
She was so impressed with the young Brethren Church circuit preacher that she married him, leaving her Limestone Cove home for a life of service to others.
Though the Arrowoods had seven children — Mary, Teddy, Betty Lou, Joseph, Henry, Nancy and Brenda — they did not depend on the five churches he served in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee for their living.
Brenda remembers waking up to her mother singing in the kitchen as she made her husband’s breakfast each morning in time for him to get to his full-time jobs at Southern Maid (Foremost) Dairy and Tri-Cities Beverages in Johnson City.
While Theodore was away preaching, Reecie started taking their young children to services at the Salvation Army. Theodore would join them on Wednesday nights when he was home and, before long, he “fell in love with the organization,” Henry said.
According to Henry, the Salvation Army held a tent revival that lasted a lot longer than they planned and Theodore was one of the preachers brought in to keep things going.
That revival led to the establishment of the outpost in the Johnson City community known as Maupin Row. Theodore gave up preaching on the circuit and he and Reecie joined the Salvation Army and started serving the many families in that area.
Brenda, their youngest daughter, remembers her parents as strict but with lots of “love and happiness."
“Momma was the fourth of eight children and had a humble beginning. They grew up in Limestone Cove in Unicoi County. She quit school when she was 13 and got a job in a laundry to help out her family."
“Momma loved all the people that attended the church. They were a part of our family and momma always treated them like her children. She would scold them when they needed it and love them no matter what.”
Brenda was a member of her mother’s nursery class and recalls her always having a “flannel board” to which she would affix the pictures of biblical figures and events. “All the children would sit in our child-size chairs around the small tables and listen to every word. We got to eat buttered toast while we listened.
“That was probably why we were so quiet, our mouths were full. Momma was involved in the Home League (the women’s program), Sunbeams and Girl Guards” (groups similar to Brownies and Girl Scouts). Reecie taught the girls how to make a bed and properly set a table, among other things.
“Whenever and wherever momma was needed, she was there. If someone in the church was sick and needed help, she and a group of the women of the Home League would go and see what needed to be done, whether it was cleaning or bringing food.
“Momma would also look out for neighbors too. Many times she sent food to an elderly couple that lived behind us.”
The Arrowoods lived on the end of Lamont Street nearest downtown and the bus station. The Veterans Administration was at the other end of the street.
Brenda said many World War II veterans would get off the bus downtown and walk up the street on their way to Mountain Home.
“They would knock on our door asking for something to eat. Momma would always fix them a sandwich. Apparently word of her generosity spread because more and more people came by. She always took care of them.”
Betty recalls, “We went to church on Sunday and I was always bringing someone home with me. Mom said, ‘Bring them on over... we’ll put another tater in the pot.’ ”
“We had a sign in our home, ‘The Lord Will Provide.’ Momma lived by that sign,” Brenda said.
“We were not a wealthy family but we were blessed,” Betty said. “Some of the best memories I have are waking up to mom singing while she was preparing my dad’s breakfast.”
The Salvation Army salary barely covered the Arrowood’s out-of-pocket expenses so Theodore kept working regular jobs to provide for his family.
“He had to be at work for the dairy company at 4 or 5 a.m. so she was up fixing his breakfast. I honestly don’t see how she did all the things she did.
“We were not allowed to go to the movies because they were of the world.
“Finally, when I was 11, my aunt talked my mother into letting me go. It was ‘Gone With The Wind.’ I was so excited I could hardly contain myself,” Betty said.
“I am thankful for the Christian upbringing by my momma and daddy. That foundation has kept me solid. In these difficult times, if my momma was still alive, she would say, ‘Praise the Lord anyhow!’ ” Brenda said.
Betty again echoes her sister’s heartfelt sentiments.
“We had a good life because of the way that we were raised. None of my brothers and sisters ever got in trouble — not in bad trouble, anyway, except with mom and dad.
“Today, even though my children are grown and I have four grandchildren, my desire is to be the kind of mother, grandmother, witness and friend that earned my mom the title of ‘angel,’ ” Betty said.
Before retiring, Reecie became a full major. Her title “angel” became eternal when she rejoined Theodore in 2003. She was 91.
Though the old Maupin Row outpost no longer exists, it remains vivid in the memories of thousands of people who were helped there.
So too is the memory of the kind faces of the pair who made it happen.
“Theirs was a partnership in Christian service,” Henry said. “They epitomized servanthood.”