Happy 5th of July, y'all! I will publish a topical article on Independence Day – eventually. This family heritage article had to be first!
My youngest brother had called me, on Sunday afternoon, 6/27/2021. He had invited us to the Morning Star Baptist Church picnic, on 7/3/2021, Saturday. I had hoped that we could attend – depending on how my three “bionic” joints and related “multi-trauma” muscle groups endured the work week.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling my oats. My usual hot to cold shower worked well enough, as usual. (I didn't even need to use my “muscle thumper!”) My '06 Frontier enjoyed taking Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and me on the road trip. He needed a good stretch of his legs. The about 78-mile drive from home to the Morning Star Baptist Church, in Church Hill, Tennessee, took about an hour and a half.
I hope you enjoy the photographs that my trusty Samsung (not-semi-intelligent) cell phone took. I will add comments after each photograph. The weather was in the low 80s and sunny.
We started hearing fiddle playing, shortly after having turning north off Highway 11W! I understand upper east Tennessee back roads. I've driven many of them. I remembered the first back road. I hadn't been on it in decades. I think that I was in my late teens or early 20's. Dad had needed my help with pump work or to move the well machine. I remembered locations on that first back road! I had ridden with Dad, in his old work truck, to help with his Ferrell's Well-Drilling work. I rode with Dad, to help, many times over many years. Later, Dad rode with me, for trips to his medical appointments, usually to see his cardiologist, in Johnson City. Dad would always comment about locations we passed, where he had either drilled a water well, done pump work, or both – usually both. (The pump must be set after the well is drilled.) That is Ferrell's Well-Drilling heritage! (I have digressed down a back road memory. Let's return our thoughts to the 7/3/2021 back road ride as it continues!)
The last part of the drive, however, was back roads off back roads! The church building is well north of Church Hill. It is almost in Virginia. The drive farther north to Virginia would take less time than back south to Church Hill! The drive – up and down hills and around sharp curves -- was expected, as anyone raised in upper east Tennessee knows. The 78-mile drive was done. We had arrived at the church building!
I took the above photograph, while the “cake auction” was going on to my left. (I don't care for sweets.) I'll nitpick my Baptist brethren. My youngest brother is not the “pastor.” He is the preacher (or evangelist or minister). I can argue my point from scripture, but I will avoid doing so. You are welcome to write a comment, if you want me to explain the difference, in a future article!
I took the above photograph moments after the first one, having turned to my left. I'm facing west now. The area to the right (shelter and tents) is where the “cake auction” was continuing. My youngest brother and his family (wife and two daughters), my next to youngest brother, my brother (who is about three years younger than me), Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, and several other folks (church members, etc.) are in the shelter and tents area. I see the rear and left side of my silver '06 Frontier truck, with his new “tars” on! The blue truck (closest, front and left side) belongs to my brother, who is just younger than me. The VA helped him buy that truck. My brother was in the Air Force eight years. He served in Operation Desert Storm. He probably contracted multiple sclerosis from immunizations he had to take, during Desert Storm. The nation owes many veterans, including my brother, a debt of gratitude. I am glad that the VA helped him buy his new to him truck. (It's a 2017 Tacoma.)
In one of my 6/8/2021 articles, I'd written that I would publish an image of my truck, wearing his new decorative plate and new “tars.” (I've commented about the new “tars,” on since 6/4/2021. By the way, I see me – arms and chest at least – in the chrome.) My decorative plate has been on my truck, since 5/23/2021.
The four sons and Earl and Betty Ferrell had not been together, since 7/23/2020 – at the gravesite service for my eldest niece. Next to youngest brother had visited us on Thanksgiving, 11/26/2020. Youngest brother and his family had visited us on 11/28/2020, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We were glad to have been able to be together again – all four of us at once. The setting was much better than on 7/23/2020. My veteran brother and I talked quite a bit, about our “whatevers” and other topics. He has left shoulder and right leg problems. I have left shoulder and right leg (knee and foot) problems. We both endure. Our “whatevers” are different, but we understand each other. (His wife, daughter, and grandson had gone to see his wife's family, in Kentucky.)
My youngest brother's two daughters were able to get their Christmas presents, finally. His eldest daughter got her birthday present also. We had Christmas in July, I reckon.
Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I had to start our way back home. On our drive back, we stopped at Mom and Dad's gravesite. The cemetery is behind a known church. Fifteen Ferrells are resting in the cemetery, including Mom and Dad. We visited each gravesite.
Three of my uncles and their wives (my aunts) and three of my first cousins rest there. I knew and remember my aunts, uncles, and first cousins very well.
The first row, in the above photograph, is where Dad's oldest brother, his wife, two of their children, and his wife's mother are resting. Many memories come to mind, of uncle Bill, aunt Bobbie, cousin Larry, and cousin Retha. Aunt Bobbie's mother died five years before I was born. We had a good visit.
Mom and Dad are resting together at the second row, in the photograph. Farther back, the flag pole and flag on the tree stump mark where the large mimosa tree had been standing. That tree had provided shade to Mom and Dad's gravesite -- which was good, when visiting on a hot and sunny or a rainy day. The roots, however, had become a concern. Dad had selected the perfect marker. The words to the poem, above “FERRELL” (visible), are not legible, in my photograph. I memorized the poem over 20 years ago. The words fit Mom and Dad well. Dad had selected the poem. He talked about it many times. We had a good visit.
The gravesite of an aunt and uncle and their son is farther back. Their gravesite is beside the gravesite of another aunt and uncle. Uncle Roy, Aunt Maxie, and cousin Bart have one site. I had to laugh a little, when I recalled the many jokes with Bart. He could always name more state capitals than I could.
Uncle Carson and Aunt Hazel have the other site. Many good memories filled my mind. I have nary a bad memory! Well, I have one. It was the last time I saw Uncle Carson. My wife and I had been back from our five-year mission work in Russia, by less than two months. We saw Uncle Carson and Aunt Hazel, at the hospital. (We had visited them at their home, on 11/26/1999.) I do not have the date written on my 1999 calendar, but it had to have been after 11/26/1999. Uncle Carson had a very few days to live. (He went home on 12/1/1999.) Aunt Hazel had started to cry, as we talked. Uncle Carson told his wife not to cry and that “it will be okay.” Uncle Carson must have been thinking in the everlasting perspective – knowing that he had only days before he went Home. The memory is bad in the short-term. It is a good memory, in the everlasting perspective.
The gravesite of Papaw Marion Ferrell's younger brother's son, his wife, and two of their children are in the cemetery also. I was born five months after the son of Papaw Ferrell's younger brother died. I don't recall having met his wife or their two children. I may have.
Our next to last stop was a quick visit to the homeplace. (We were trying to get back, in time to do “Molly doggy's.”) The above photograph is looking northeast, with the back of the homeplace in the image. Granny Wood's grapevine is to the left. Her grapevine will have plenty of grapes later this year.
The two Winesap apple trees that Dad had planted are farther west, not in the image. The smaller tree is starting to produce apples. The larger tree may or may not produce apples this year. Both trees are healthy. Ferrell family are welcome to stop by, to get grapes and apples! Two great neighbors have been doing so for years. My youngest brother and I have been doing so for years.
Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was “hiding” in my '06 Nissan Frontier. The first cut of hay had been done. I wish that my good neighbors had been home! I missed seeing them. The garden, behind the image, was looking good. The target practice area looked like it had been used recently, by a good neighbor. I need to target shoot there soon!
Dad, we're still “keepin' it going” at the homeplace. I remember what you said, after Mom went to see Jesus.
I had started writing this article yesterday, on Independence Day. The plan to publish this article yesterday – with another article afterward, on the topic of Independence Day -- was delayed. (A man has to do other stuff!) Well, this family heritage article is published! I will get around to writing and publishing my Independence Day article – in better late than never mode.
I have written earlier, about having started “our way back home.” Our 7/3/2021 travels took just over six hours total. (After having been at the homeplace, my truck was hungry. I fed him 89 octane 100% gas, at the Liberty Market, which is across from the elementary school, on Main Street.) To my family and friends in Rogersville, I'm sorry, y'all, that I didn't let you know that we were coming! What we did took enough time. We didn't have any more time!
“Our way back HOME” will take more time. Family are already at HOME. We here, in the short-term perspective, are living to go HOME. To my biological and spiritual family, who are already HOME, my wife and I, along with others, are on our way HOME! We will get there. It won't take long – in the short-term perspective. Until then, y'all “keep it goin'” up there! We will see you soon!
The Ferrell family gathering fun, on 7/3/2021, was a foretaste of future Ferrell family gathering fun – at HOME!