A Family in Harmony
I remember how my pappa loved gospel songs. At sometime in his years, he had learned music. He taught all of us to sing in harmony. While we were about our chores, making beds, washing dishes, empting the pots, or sweeping, all of which we did every morning, someone started a song and all joined in around the house.
At his time my pappa was usually waiting for the stock to eat and planning out our day's work. If anyone anywhere hit the wrong note for their part, he stopped us and told us how that part went. He could sing any of the four parts, but he loved to sing bass the best. We sang in the fields as we hoed, plowed with mules, suckered tobacco, or picked corn. What ever we did, we did in harmony together.
My pappa had a way of making us feel important. To own land was important, but to be debt free was most important. He would say, "Owe no man. If you do, be sure to pay as you promised or tell the person you owe that you need time." He said most people will understand and give you time.
He believed that honesty is the only policy, not just the best policy. His honesty was well known, so he co-signed notes for many people. His signature was as good as gold. A few times he had to pay debts for others and was never repaid.
He was also generous. I have seen him buy furniture for his cousin's family after keeping them several weeks free - a family of seven. He helped them get a new start in a rented house, then he sent me there with food for their table.
I have seen him take hams or bacon by the slab from our smokehouse and also other food to my sister, Sadie, whose husband was out of work and down on his luck - enough to feed a family of four. She was the one that some have said my pappa loved best. My pappa said, "She showed her love for me the best." I loved her very much also. She helped me with my spiritual life and seemed to know the right words to say. I stayed with her a lot, and I was very hurt when the Lord took her away.
It was the custom in those days to keep a family's dead at home overnight without embalming. Although my girlfriend and I were young, we took the after-midnight shift to sit with Sadie. We had to keep baking soda cloths on her face so she would not turn dark before the funeral.
This was such a sad time, the day after Christmas. My pappa always seemed sad on Christmas after that.