Monday, December 02, 2013


This Thanksgiving weekend, I took a brief little road trip with Grandaddy, Mom, Dad, and my sister to Erin, TN.  This was the second Thanksgiving without my Granny (mom's side) and it's been over five without my Grandmother (Dad's side).  We explored some sites of historical significance to our family.  Pictured here is the cabin where my great-great grandmother (Grandaddy's granny) once lived:

It's even more rustic on the inside than this picture might suggest.  It's got about three rooms and the stable in the rear.  Less than a mile up the hill from the cabin is the old family cemetery which contains about five graves, one of them being a twelve-year-old boy who died in the 1950s and the other holding the body of my great-great-great grandmother who was born in the 1830s, lived through the Civil War, and died in the 1890s.

I've never had any interest in family genealogy; my brain has a hard time visualizing relatives who I never had the pleasure of knowing in life.  It is very hard for me to imagine my grandparents being young and having grandparents of their own.  But, where I am, they once were.  It's strange to take a few minutes and walk the same places where they used to walk years ago.  I can't imagine living in a three room cabin that, in spite of its rickety appearance, has apparently withstood over a century of wear by the natural world.

Seeing places like this remind me of how my family was able to make due with so little for so many years.  People like my grandaddy were born into humble circumstances, grew up in tiny towns working humble jobs, and then got drafted into the armed services during World War II which took them to some of the most exotic places on earth before they even turned twenty-one.  When their service was over, they returned home to places like Erin and picked up with real-life.  Much of my family moved to Detroit to get work in the auto industry, build families, and then retired back to their Tennessee hometowns to live out their golden years.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to grow up in rural Tennessee during the 1800s or the early 1900s, but my family did it for generations.  They didn't have a lot of possessions, but they did have each other and faith in God, and that was enough.  Children died young and those who survived had to grow up fast.  When you have childhood so brief, I guess it only makes sense that it's important to hold onto those memories and pass them onto future generations.  Soaking in such sights, I'm humbled to the point that I never have any words of insight to add.  But it certainly makes me thankful for all that I have in life and all that has come before me to make me into the person I am today.