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A Time When Things Were Good

It was a good time of life.  Granddaddy lived on one of the biggest farms in the county.  He lived in a big house and loved driving Grandma around in his big car.  It had lots of chrome and whitewall tires.  It was rumored that he also ran moonshine with his brothers and sons.  Granddaddy was a well-respected man who always reached out to help others.  He was Irish and a striking man.  He had red hair and penetrating blue eyes.  He was originally from Virginia and was a strong but mannerly man.  My Grandma fell in love with him at first sight.  She was smitten.

Granddaddy courted her hard.  She was from Vermont, not a country girl but a small town girl.  Grandma was part English and part Native American.  She wore her hair down to her waist until she passed at eighty-three.  Granddaddy bought her nice clothing and rode her around town in his fancy car.  He was so proud to have her by his side.  It was a time of life when things were good.

They got married at a little white church where his brother was the pastor.  Grandma wore a white sundress and a summer straw hat.  She was a short lady with a brilliant smile and a quiet demeanor.  She loved to ride horses and read westerns and romance novels.  Granddaddy carried her over the threshold.  It was a time when things were good and they shared a love without end.  For her wedding present, he bought her a knickknack cabinet filled with small glass birds and horses.  It was something she would cherish her whole life.  It was the best of times for them.

They sat in the front pew at church and Granddaddy had a pleasing tenor voice and loved to sing I’ll Fly Away.  They held hands and hosted elaborate dinners for the family, and they drove around his land holdings on Sunday afternoons handing out cash and hams to his tenants.  Over the years they had seven boys and one girl.  It was a dynasty of sorts.  Granddaddy purchased more land and as the boys grew older he gave them all a farm to tend.  It was a time filled with hopes and dreams.

The family had a vast amount of farmable acreage and the money was rolling in.  All the boys had 56 Chevys and you could always find them with the hood up tinkering with the motor.  Even though I was only five years old I knew that they were up to something other than farming to drive cars built for speed.  I couldn’t figure out why we lived in a tenant shack yet drove a car like that.  I loved to ride in that car when Daddy would drive fast.  It was a time when life was exciting.

Granddaddy was getting older and I could hear rumors that he was in a hospital in Columbia.  I didn’t really remember him as I was just a baby and no one would talk about him even when I persisted.  I could hear my uncles and Daddy talk about him being sick and had sold his farm to one of his brothers.  Grandma was living in a small tenant house with her daughter and was sharecropping the acreage out for income.  Everyone was hard pressed for money as Granddaddy’s farm had kept the whole family in cash.  The sons did what they could to feed their families including running a little moonshine.  It was a sad time in life; a dynasty of despair.

I never saw Granddaddy again and the family never talked about him.  Daddy went to see him when I was around six and Daddy never was the same.  It was the only time I saw my Daddy cry.  In time I forgot Granddaddy and bit by bit the farms were sold off and the whole family moved to Myrtle Beach.  When my Daddy passed away I saw a grave a ways down from where they laid Daddy to rest.   I noticed the grave had the name of my Granddaddy.

Point Of View

I found out much later in life that my Granddaddy had developed Alzheimer’s and had sold his land to his brother.  It broke the family.  They didn’t know what it was back then and there were no support groups to provide help.  In the end, his children did well in life but most of the sons left the farm broke.  It was a time where the darkness and despair ruled everyone’s life.

In life, we may reach high, drive big cars and own land.  You can have a dynasty yet in the blink of an eye it can vanish like the morning mist.  My Granddaddy lived hard and was somewhat of an outlaw.  Without question, he loved his family, yet Alzheimer’s took away everything.  He passed away in a primitive place alone and forgotten.  Sadly, there is no one left that can tell me about my Granddaddy.  We should remember to love the ones we have with us now.  We should live each day as if it is the last day.  It should be a time in life where things are good and we love the ones in our life that are family.  We should love more, laugh more and cherish the time we have now.  These times are the best of times.

Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Larry – What a wonderful way to honor your heritage and most importantly, your grandfather. We should all remember the importance of sharing these stories with our children and grandchildren so they grow with an understanding of where they come from and the fabric of their history. Thanks for sharing this touching story.

  2. There you go, made me cry. Love the story and the patches of quilt from my own past. Unfortunately that seems to have been the last generation where family was so strong, lived close and held that tight bond that we only read about in stories today. Thank you. J

  3. Thank you for sharing such a touching history about your family, Larry. Family is the best and the most challenging. Alzheimer’s is especially dramatic to the family members witnessing the progress and change. Now there are specific homes for people suffering from it – but even then, it doesn’t alter the state of mind. It makes the arrangements easier, and sometimes prolongs the effect, which is good.

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