Today while I was tidying the bedroom I found an envelop containing a piece of lace given to me Aunt Kathy. Allen and I got the chance to go down and visit her while she was visiting her sister Mamaw. That makes her Allen's great-aunt really, but we just call her Aunt Kathy. We stopped for some Zaxby's chicken on the way down, and Mamaw had biscuits and beans and watermelon waiting for us when we got there. They'd actually been expecting us for lunch which ended up being kind of funny in and of itself. They're farm girls from Sand Mountain, and dinner to them meant the midday meal. Since I tend to use dinner and supper interchangeably I thought I was telling them we would come for supper not remembering that dinner and supper are two different things to many people.
Anyway, that week was pretty rushed for us, but I'm so glad that we drove down to see them. In between eating and playing cards we ended up getting a fair bit of family history. They told us odd little things about growing up on Sand Mountain like how their mom would have little sweet potatoes baked and ready for them when they got home from school. The funniest thing was them talking about a card game they used to play called King on the Corner. Apparently four of them (Mamaw, Kathy, Phoebe, and Lina) used to play it quite a lot. We found some cards to play with, but they couldn't quite remember the rules. Between them calling Phoebe and Lina and Allen calling his dad we finally came up with some sort of rules. I think it a grandma thing to be glad when a card is played that you can't use. When I asked Aunt Kathy why she was glad I'd played a king when she couldn't use it she said "Well maybe it'll do somebody some good." Sounds a lot like how my Grandma would talk while we were playing games when I was little. Allen (the rascal) ended up winning both games.
Right before we left they started pulling out family pictures. My own family doesn't have a whole lot of pictures of grandparents and things when they were young. Mamaw and Aunt Cathy however have a pictures of their parents and even a picture of one set of their grandparents. Just from looking at them you could tell they had hard lives and that these were people accustomed to work and plenty of it. That couldn't be all there was to them though. Looking at Mamaw and Aunt Cathy and my father-in-law's family you can see that these people of work left a goodly heritage to the generation. There were other pictures too. One of their two brothers in military uniform and another of all the sisters (seven I believe). When we drove off down the dirt road toward the highway we (I) had been blessed more than we could have imagined. Not only had we come closer to our heritage we'd seen again that it is a goodly and godly heritage. The women we left behind had already lived long lives and been through difficult times, and they could say with calm certainty that God's ways are best. It wasn't a big part of our conversation, but I distinctly remember those two dear, gray haired farm girls telling us to trust God and He would work everything out.
I was especially touched by Aunt Kathy's present. I'd post a picture if I had one. It's really just a small rectangular piece of ivoried lace from around WWII. Aunt Kathy told me that it'd been trimmed out of larger piece and that her mother-in-law had done the tiny hem stitching around the edges. The part that really blessed me though is that Aunt Kathy said she wanted to leave me something to remember her by. I'd only met her once before at a family reunion. It never occurred to me that she would love me or want to be remembered by me. But that's really just the way Allen's family is. They welcome you in and love you like you wouldn't expect, and if we hadn't gone down there I wouldn't had known how large and loving and wonderful my family really is.