Ever'lil thang

Sugar maple in fall. This particular specimen stands next to what I have come to call "Aunt Jo's house," just a stone's throw from the cabin (well, when I was young; I wouldn't even try that far of a heave nowadays).

A long time ago, through the 1930s to about 1943 when he went off to war, my father grew up there on what he described as a "subsistence farm." They raised cows, pigs, and chickens for meat, dairy and eggs, grew a vegetable garden and fruit orchard, and planted cotton as their only cash crop. They had no electricity or running water until well after the war. He had two sisters and two brothers and they all did their farming chores while still completing school. I once asked him how growing up like that shaped him. He said, "It taught me to work." I'll add that, if there's a personality type that best inheres such a lesson from such an experience, James William Lowe had it.

He and my mother built a brick house some distance behind where I snapped the photo above, and lived there in retirement. During that time his little sister Joanne had moved into the old farmhouse with her husband, Fred. They took care of my grandmother (Joanne and James's mother, Ella) until she died in 1991. Fred passed in 2010, and by the time my wife and I moved here to take care of my parents, I already thought of the old house as "Aunt Jo's house."

My Aunt Joanne had an unusual knack for finding a reason in every little thing to smile and say "hallelujah, amen." I'm pretty sure I've never met anyone who does that quite as readily, as naturally, or as well. This ability to seek out and find the grace and goodness in every little thing was the basis of a song I wrote called "Granddaddy's Farm." I sang that song in tribute to her at her funeral in 2017. It's also the genesis of this particular blog category.


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