Today as I laid my son down for his nap I happened to look over on his bed side table and glimpse my great-grandfather’s Bible. I picked it up and lovingly ran my hand over it. Though I don’t clearly remember my great-grandfather I do have memories of him. I also have my grandmother and mother’s memories that they have shared with me. As I toted this ancient testament of God’s word around I thought about other things that I had just “laying” around that were special to me…my grandmother Williamson’s bowl that my mother gave to me…a guitar pick that my Uncle gave to me before he passed away. These things are small and insignificant to any one else but to me…they will be the things I remove FIRST of my personal belongs in case of hurricane or flood. Yes….they mean that much to me. So here’s the story.
Great-grandfather Clyde Harrell was a wonderful and loving man. He was modest and simple, choosing to live off of the land and raise his family. He was the Deacon of his church and a man other’s in the community looked up to. My memories might be hazy but…I have a strong sense of love for him through the warmth and fabulous stories my grandmother and mother tell me of him. Every time I hold this worn and weathered Bible I imagine the many many times my great-grandfather opened it in a time where he needed guidance. I open it and hear the pages creak and groan as the ages have taken its toll but still…this Bible holds true. It’s words are still just as clear as the day it was pressed. And the meaning in the messages still reach inside of me when I need His words the most.
My grandmother Williamson passed away when I was but one year of age. I am told she held me, sang to me, rocked me and spoiled me but to my deep regret…I do not have memory of it. As with my great-grandfather I hear the wonderful stories of her through my father and my Aunts and Uncles. I feel their deep connection and the wealth of love that pours from them as they laughingly tell me of a time when “Mama” did this or that. My mother tells me how blessed she feels to have had the honor of knowing her and I can see that in her smile as she tells me how her mother in law would get onto her son (my father) when he was not behaving as a loving husband should. When my mother gave me this bowl she explained that though it was plain…it was strong. Like a woman of faith. If you look closely you can see the small crack where the bowl has been glued back together after being broken. I now look at that crack and know that even though we fall on hard times…if you are just strong in your beliefs you can weather anything…even a break.
My Uncle Ronnie was my father’s closest companion and confidant. I was raised up at his knee just as I was my father’s. My fondest and most wonderful childhood memories center around a bonfire and my father and uncle playing guitar and singing. When my aunts chimed in with harmony it was truly awe inspiring. I was quite simply amazed by them all. In time I learned to play the guitar and on one of our MANY nights of playing and singing I realized I had forgotten my pick (a rather common occurrence on my part) and my uncle handed me one from his front pocket. “Lotta miles on that there pick”, he told me with that smile so full of wisdom, “May as well add your own to it.” At that time I though I was going to have my uncle forever. And then tragedy befell and we lost him to cancer. I hoarded that pick like it was the family jewels after that. Never allowing any one to so much as touch it for fear it would wipe off all those miles he swore were on it.
These precious treasures are invaluable to me. They will be passed down to my children and their children with the same reverence as they were to me. To the average person…they are but inanimate objects but to me…to me they are priceless.