The Flowering Vine: More To The Story

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Our Grandparents:  Leroy and Annie aka ‘Mother’ with Lady G’s Son

 

I thought I’d take a second to thank all of the readers who have supported “The Flowering Vine Series.”

Both Ron and I really appreciate your kind comments about our family.

I inserted this picture of our Grandparents, Leroy (Daddy) and Annie (Mother) so that you can see them as they were in later years.

This picture was taken ONE MONTH prior to our Grandfather’s death.

Here’s the story behind the photo.

Basically, my son had just been born a few months prior and something urged me to go visit my Grandparents and take pictures.

While I can’t say that I had a premonition, I can say that I clearly remember my Grandfather saying to me, as he struggled with his cane to rise from his seat, “Whew Bay, Granddaddy can’t haaaardly get around no more.”

 

His rich baritone voice wrapped itself so closely around my heart and I tearfully responded, “I know Granddaddy….I know.”

The next month, he was gone.

Friends, I can’t tell you how much we all miss him.  He was one of the kindest people I have EVER known and he sincerely loved us all so much.

I distinctly remember how he would wait until EVERYBODY, including all of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren had eaten before he would eat.

He’d say, “Did everybody eat? Did everybody have enough?”

Then, he’d pile the leftovers along with some home grown tomatoes and peppers into his favorite bowl.

Boy let me tell you! That bowl of food looked so GOOOOOD!

God knows they don’t make them like our Granddaddy anymore.

Frankly, there is so much more that can be said about both of our Grandparents, and, as long as you’re interested, we hope to continue sharing those stories here.

Anyway, below is a family tree that includes some of the people that you all have come to know and love.

Because our story includes so much information about our biracial heritage, I decided to include a bit of a descriptor under each person’s name.

Note:  The term “mixed race” applies where there is some interracial heritage but the specifics are unknown.  “Recent mixed race” indicates that this person had at least one confirmed white parent.

On a related note, both Ron and I would like to offer a special thanks to two Caucasian cousins who were kind enough to share DNA and Family records in order to help us to confirm information on our Grandfather’s side.  Had they not been willing to step forward a few more of these boxes would have been marked “unknown.”

Also, a BIG thanks to Ron’s Mom (Jet) and my Dad (Jim) for sharing their memories.

Now, let me stop rambling!

Here’s the Tree!

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The Flowering Vine: Notice that there should be a Mr. H and a Mrs. H (LOL!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Grandparents, Sages and Ancestors

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Granddaddy (My Dad), circa 2004, watching over my son at a school camping trip. (Excuse the imperfections in the image.)

 

Every time I see folks taking care of their grandchildren, I always make it a point to say to them, “Thank God for Grandparents!”

No doubt, Grandparents can be a child’s guardian angel materialized on Earth.

Trust me when I tell you that I enjoyed interacting with my own Grandparents–when they were alive–and I’ve enjoyed watching my children do the same with my parents.

Grandchildren:  Always be a blessing to your Grandparents, just as they are or were to you!

Ah, but wait, I can hear somebody in the ethers hollering, “But Lady G, I’ve never had a relationship with my Grandparents.”

To that, I say…

Seek the Sages!

Sages are easy to find–if you’re willing to look around you.

Sometimes they are sitting next to you on the bus.

Other times, they are standing next to you at the library.

Or in the line at the coffee shop.

Interactions with Sages need not be unnecessarily long.

Sometimes, Sages offer a quick word of advice or wisdom that can take you ten steps further down the road.

Sadly, many Sages are slipping away in:

Nursing homes

Back bedrooms

Small apartments

Unattended to…

So…

Find the Sages I say!  Talk to them!  Learn their stories! Take pictures of them! Bestow them with accolades!

(It should go without saying that this advice also applies to Grandparents.)

Treasure them…they deserve it!

For tomorrow you will look and they’ll be gone.

Finally, let us not forget…

The Ancestors!

For the purposes of this post, Ancestors are defined as all of the Grandparents, and Sages who have ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’…having ascended to higher realms.

Remember and honor them!

They are watching!

Make them proud!

Love and light to you all!

Lady G 😘💋

Dedicated to My Grandparents:

Mary

Leroy and Annie Maude

And to my Parents, Sages and Ancestors!

The Flowering Vine: Dem Bones

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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…

Ron’s Time Tunnel: Granddaddy was a Geeenius

 

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The ‘White Insurance Man,’ walked into my grandparents’ home, removed the cardboard pouch, containing my grandparents’ life insurance policies, from the wall next to the front door. He turned to my grandfather, who was sitting on the sofa—his favorite spot—and addressed him with the same, geriatric salutation, he’d used 260 times before, “GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN!” My granddaddy’s name was “Charlie Brown;”  Charlie James Brown, to be precise. The term, “GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN!” is one that the ‘White Insurance Man’ had obviously filched from the Sunday Newspaper comic strip entitled, “PEANUTS! Featuring, GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN.” My grandfather would respond to his exclamation with a mumbled, “Alright, Alright” (I wonder why old men always repeat things twice?)  Anyway, I could never get a positively accurate read of Granddaddy’s expression, when responding to the ‘White Insurance Man.’ Even though he smiled—which he always did—I believe I could detect a flash of annoyance flit briefly across his, Hershey bar, smooth face. But, with a name like “Charlie Brown,” one has to expect a degree of, good-natured, ribbing, right?

Grandfather’s name didn’t make me think of the comic strip though; I thought about a song that my dad would sing to us from time-to-time; a song which I thought, incorrectly of course, was about my granddaddy. The song was called ‘CHARLIE BROWN,’ by the Coasters. Some of the lyrics follow:

“Fe-fe, fi-fi, fo-fo, fum

I smell smoke in the auditorium!

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown

He’s a clown, that Charlie Brown

He’s gonna get caught

Just you wait and see

(Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?)”

Well now, let’s analyze these lyrics for a moment and surmise the reason why, in retrospect, this song could NOT have been about MY dear old, CHARLIE BROWN. First of all, MY Charlie Brown could not have set a fire in the auditorium because the one-room schoolhouse he attended, until the sixth grade, had no auditorium. But now, that last line, “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?” could apply, in a limited sense. My Uncle Harry (the Jokester) used granddaddy’s name—good naturedly, of course—as the name of the foil, in a lot of his “tales,” to which my grandfather would quietly respond, “Harry lying” (a Geeenius response!). Let’s look at another verse:

“That’s him on his knees

I know that’s him

Yeah, from 7 come 11

Down in the boys’ gym”

Well, once again, the “One Room Schoolhouse,” had no gym; Gym was OUTSIDE! But! He was a praying man, and I mean a PRAYING man, a praying GEEENIUS! So he spent a lot of time on his knees. So that line COULD apply.

Let’s try another one:

“Who’s always writing on the wall?

Who’s always goofing in the hall?

Who’s always throwing spit balls?

Guess who (who, me) yeah, you

Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow?

Who calls the English teacher, Daddy-O?

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown”

This one is tricky, the “blackboard,”in the “One Room Schoolhouse” was actually a section of the front wall, painted black, so technically, EVERYONE wrote on the wall, but the schoolhouse had no hall. I particularly liked this line; “Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow. Who calls the English teacher, “Daddy-O”? Once, as a child, my cousin Elvira, when describing granddaddy to someone who’d never seen him said, “he big, and he fat. He stick out in front, and he stick out behind, and when he walk, he walk like this (deftly imitating Granddaddy’s waddling gait). By the way, Elvira grew up to be a teacher and her mother, Aunt Will Eva (Granddaddy’s sister), became the principal of the “One Room Schoolhouse,”at a later point in TIME. Also, if he’d EVER called a teacher anything other than; Mr. This or Mrs. That; or Sir or Ma’am, he would have been the first man to “time travel” (a GEEENIUS level accomplishment), because he would have gotten knocked into next week!

Saturday Morning cartoons, however, introduced me to a more fitting image of MY Charlie Brown. Once, while watching an episode of the ‘Road Runner,’ the Road Runner’s nemesis was in a shack marked, “EXPLOSIVES,”at what appeared to be a construction site, pouring nitroglycerin into fake carrots. As he carefully poured the explosive liquid, he fiendishly cackled his name and credentials to himself, “Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius,” he snickered. “I like the way that rolls out! Wile E. Coyote, SUPER-GEEENIUS.” While he’s having this little meeting of the “Self-Admiration Society” (SAS), he fails to notice that, SOMEONE, has moved his shack onto the railroad tracks adjacent to the site. Also unknown to him, there is a train coming. The train’s whistle blows, punctuating his last appraisal of himself. He turns, and looks out of the little portal of the shack. To his “SHOCK and AWE” a train is bearing down upon him. He closes the portal’s green shade and stares, fatalistically, into the “camera.” The train hits the shack and…well you know what happens when a moving train meets shack full of nitro! Need I say more?

Granddaddy is NOT WILE E. though! Although Wile E. proclaims himself a “GEEENIUS,” prior to the unfortunate outcome of his plan to rig fake carrots with nitro, the REAL GEEENIUS was the guest star, who was responsible for the shack being moved to the tracks, none other than BUGS BUNNY! That guy, is the guy who was like unto REAL Charlie Brown, GEEENIUS!

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Come back next week and I’ll tell you why MY Charlie Brown, was a GEEENIUS!