~ 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."
Monday, April 5, 2010
Buried in Hard Scrabble Earth~
My Dad saw his older brother buried in the year 1963.
He was killed in an accident on a oil rig in New Mexico.
The loss of his beloved brother was hard on my Dad.
The years kept coming and Dad raised his family. He suffered losses through the years, as we all do. He lived as best he could. He lost his son at the tender age of 18. He lost his parents. He then saw a son in law buried, at the age of 31. Even after all this, the human spirit somehow endures. We learn to cope and get on with life.
Dad was not one to go to the doctor and when he realized it was time to go, it was quite a shock for all of us.
He had some health issues that had worsened over time, and he was put in the hospital for a heart bypass. He had apparently suffered a heart attack but did not tell anyone, some years past.
During the recovery, after the bypass, he would lie in the darkness of the ICU room and think.
I stayed with him, sitting quiet alongside him in the shadowy room.
He turned to me and said into the darkness, “I want to go see Ray, one more time, before I die“.
Startled that he was still awake, I said, “Okay, Dad”. “You get better and get your strength back, and we will do just that“.
He got most of his strength back. He was still somewhat unsteady on his feet , but the diagnosis of lymphatic cancer was still to come. Yet another blow awaited him.
I told him our departure date, plane tickets were bought.
We left out of Charlotte Douglas Airport and we were on our way to see Ray.
Ray was buried in sandy, ‘cleachy’ ground outside of Hobbs, New Mexico. Dad attended that funeral before my birth. The grief of losing his brother stayed with him for the rest of his life. A soulful look would come into his eyes whenever he recalled Ray. Losing your brother like that was hard.
The cemetery, back in the time of the funeral, was in a barren field.
No grass, no trees. Forsaken, or so it seemed to Dad.
He would lie awake at night, he told me, and think about putting his brother in that rocky, sandy ground. Saddened, he felt like he had not done the proper thing for his brother.
It bothered him tremendously to think about that.
He recalled that it was an open field, with 'hard scrabble' earth. There was a barbed wire fence near it and someone had shot a coyote and hung the carcass on that barbed wire. Those were the things he remembered about the funeral. The funeral procession passing by that coyote hanging on the fence had to be a sad sight.
Unpleasant memories surrounded by grief. Compounded by years of thinking about it.
Dad was easily confused and disoriented somewhat, at this point.
He allowed me to guide his way this time.
I steered him along in the airport, toward the right gate, taking the hand of the man that once lead the way for me.
He never questioned my direction, but quietly submitted, his own child, now leading him.
Funny how life sometimes does a full 180 degrees, and the parent becomes the child.
I was just about as uncomfortable about that as he was.. But we made it okay.
I gently reminded him that he had lead the way for quite awhile, but he could rest now and not have to worry over the directions now, I was here.
We landed in Lubbock and rented a car for the rest of the trip into New Mexico.
Dad slept on and off during the ride, he was easily tired. I relied on my maps to guide me.
Keeping the radio low, as to not awaken Dad.
We stopped for gas and to eat, at a roadside café.
The road maps were consistent , thankfully, and we arrived without a hitch.
We made our way to Dad's nieces' house in Hobbs.
There were hugs, smiles and lots of joy to see her and her family.
Dad was in a lot of pain, but he refused to let that damper his spirits at being there.
He delighted in being able to see and spend time, with his brother's wife and family.
We all went out to the cemetery together.
Tears came to Dad’s eyes when he saw the Prairie Haven Cemetery.
He could barely keep his emotions in check.
Gone is the barbed wire fence.
Gone is the hard scrabble, barren earth.
Now the cemetery is a place of beauty. Green , lush, grass carpets the cemetery.
Ray lies under the shade of a nearby tree.
Dad exclaimed…”Oh my, it's..... beautiful”!. “This is just nothing like I remembered!”
Success. I smile when I think of it.
Ray was laid to rest in a beautiful place. Dad could put that hard memory to rest, finally.
I pray that brought him peace, in his quiet moments, over the rest of the time he had here.
I am thankful for being able to do that for my Dad. We had just over a year more together.
May there be beautiful , tree lined, streets with lots of green grass in heaven.
May they stroll beside one another and talk for hours. Catching up, as brothers do.
May the sun shine softly on their shoulders as they walk.
Hopefully, one day, I will be allowed to join up with them.
Maybe tag along behind them....
Rest in peace, Ray.
Rest in peace, Dad.