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As most Grandfathers would, mine would often tell us stories of his childhood. Raised in Western Tennessee in the 1920’s my Grandfather would be born into a very poor farming family. Back then children were produced as often as their yearly harvest and put to work the day they learned to spit. My grandfather and his siblings would tend to their farm as first priority. There was no alternate option that would take precedence over the farm. School always came second back then and the parents had their reasons. The less hands to tend would mean less yield and an even harder year to come. In return children would be respected as hard working hands in the field as any hand would. Cotton was the promising commodity for that area and the majority of their land was consumed by it. My Grandfather at age 7 was tending the Harvest along with his whole family including uncles and aunts. Everyone helped out back then and they’d expect the same help come time for their harvest. As hot as it was that day, my grandfather decided to hoax his mother into believing he wasn’t feeling very well. Mother, although stern adored her children and fell for the boys dishonesty. She told him to head back to the truck and rest as they carried out the rest of the day. Roy headed to the truck in a sickly fashion as his brothers and sisters shunned him. It was as if they could see his guilty grin through his denim overalls and fake shed of tears. Roy with much anticipation for supple rest made it into the cab of the truck. As busy as a boy could be Roy would rummage through the cab in search of some type of entertainment. Lucky for him he happened to come across his uncles book of matches lying on the dashboard. His Uncle had his pipe everywhere he went so it would seem to be proper etiquette to leave the mans matches alone. Roy’s eyes glued to the match book and with a mind full of wonder couldn’t resist. As quick as you could cut a match a fire was made. As he struck the matches one by one he would accidentally light the whole book. Quickly to keep from burning skin he threw the flame out the door into gathered bales of cotton piled next to the old ford 1 ton. The outcome was devastating. The fire would burn half of the fields yield and all that had been harvested for the day. His uncle would take the blame for the fire because of his tobacco habits and Roy would walk a free man full of conviction. I remember sitting at the dining room table and visualizing his story as the words left his lips. An 80 year old man in the poorest of conditions he’d yet to endeavor. Full of fresh emotion as if it had happened just days ago. See Roy was a man of conviction even though he was nothing less than pure at heart. An easy man to admire but a hard man to become. Roy would never find it in him to tell his parents what had really happened that day. I’m thankful he told me.
We want to hear your stories of past times and of the people you are proud to call Family. Remember, A moment of time and a generation apart is a depletion of an average mans past. Secure it and be Man Made