The Flowering Vine: Dem Bones


Today’s “Flowering Vine” entry tells the tale of an event involving my and Ron’s Grandfather (Leroy), our Great- Grandmother (Mary), and our uncle (Bernard).


Dem Bones

-By Ron Brown

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

Leroy’s sixth birthday was made even more special because Mary was headed into town and—as was her custom—had invited Leroy and—by default—Bernard to ride along.  When Leroy turned six years old, he was already tall. He towered over his little, “brown brother”, Bernard. Leroy was Mary’s pride and joy. He was, in her words, “Grandma’s big boy”. Leroy always rode “shotgun”, while Bernard scooted from one side of the back of the wagon, to the other, depending upon which side’s sights were more stimulating.

For Leroy, what was in front of him, was much more mesmerizing than what was to the left, right or the rear of him. He sat quietly, keeping his eyes forward. Mary admired him for this trait and would often encourage him by leaning over to him and whispering, “That’s right Grandma’s big boy, keep them eyeballs peeled”.

This day however, as they rolled down the rambling road, neither Mary’s fierce focus nor Leroy’s eagle eyes could have saved them from what happened next, for just ahead of them, from out of the roadside briars and bramble shot a streak of white. It slithered swiftly and silently across the road in front of the two black mules hitched to Mary’s buckboard.

The two black mules reared simultaneously, at the sight of the albino coachwhip. The sudden jerk of the reins, held tightly in Mary’s tenacious grip, snatched her formidable form forward, in front of the wagon and behind the mules. The mules stepped back; one of them, adventitiously, stomping Mary’s thigh, fracturing her femur. Leroy heard the sickening crack as the bone in his grandmother’s thigh gave way to the weight of the thousand-pound animal’s hoof. The usually silent Leroy, screamed; the usually vocal Mary, was silent.

Leroy leaped down from his perch on the wagon’s seat, then calmed the frightened mules, whose pallid pariah, had now disappeared into the underbrush on the opposite side of the dirt road. Once the mules had regained their composure, Leroy rushed over to Mary and kneeled down beside her. She looked at him affectionately, then gently stroked the side of his face with a trembling hand and wheezed, go get help Grandma’s big boy.

Mary was careful not to instill any additional fear or panic into her grandson. Leroy worked his jaw muscles viciously, as he struggled to maintain his customary calmness. Leroy, looked sternly upon his baby brother Bernard and chided him, “Stay with Grandma boy, I’m going to get help!” and away he went, as fast as his long, lanky legs would carry him. The nearest house was just over a mile down the torturously twisting, dust-topped road.

And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knoweth. Again, he said unto me, ‘Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord”.

Mary lay quietly in the dust and sang to herself softly:

“Ezekiel connected dem—dry bones,

Ezekiel connected dem—dry bones,

Ezekiel in the Valley of—Dry Bones,

Now hear the word of the Lord.”

To be continued…

26 thoughts on “The Flowering Vine: Dem Bones

  1. Pingback: The Flowering Vine: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – seekthebestblog

  2. UGH! RON!!!!!!! Great story telling and now I demand to know what happens next! LOL. Your family history is very intriguing and these characters are very richly drawn. The entire time I am reading these installments, I keep envisioning a movie. Keep the stories coming!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Looking very much forward to the continuation. Having worked in a medical environment … femur pain is referred to as the worst of all. Your dear great-grandmother’s ability to rise above and silence herself in such pain on behalf of her family … it brings tears.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks! I also work in medical and I can certainly agree with you on that.

      You should find my next post interesting, as it will touch on treatment of long bone fractures in the early 20th century. And the limited treatments available for poor people back then.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Truly, I am on the edge of my seat concerning your next post. I cannot imagine the endurance required for the treatments you mention. Your written word is so engaging there is strong desire at this end to drop to my knees and pray into the past for your great-grandmother.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Ron, once again, you have done a magnificent job of describing our Grandfather as a young boy. You remembered that he stood over 6 feet tall so I imagine that he was a very lanky young whippersnapper!

    I love, love, love the way you described our Great Grandmother and her attempt to be brave for those boys. The pain that she endured had to be unbearable.

    Well done!

    I cannot wait to see what happens next! I am sitting up here thinking:

    “Granddaddy, please be careful!”

    “Mary, hold on…hang in there!”

    I am hooked! You are awesome cousin!

    Liked by 6 people

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