Who Will Tell The Stories?

My aunt was recently diagnosed with ALS; commonly know as Lou Gehrig?s disease. I come from a very small family. My mama had no brother?s or sister?s and my daddy had only one sister and brother. Needless to say my one aunt and uncle are very dear and precious to me. Seeing the future without my Aunt Lafayette is something that I choose to close my eyes to.

Aunt Lafayette and Uncle Jim are full of stories from their childhood; most of them are about spending time at their grandma?s house. Mary Ida Carter Pruitt was well known in the small community of Friendship for her cooking. As the story goes, she would prepare Sunday dinner for whichever preacher was traveling through the area that week. Some weeks there may have even been two or three preachers sitting at her table. She didn?t go to the grocery store to buy her staples either. She went out in the yard and killed her own chicken for those Sunday dumplings.

Aunt Lafayette remembers walking up and down the long hill to and from the springhouse carrying water. She tells of her Grandma Pruitt churning butter in the cool shade down by the spring and of the hot steam that rose from boiling her white clothes down by the creek. Her Grandma Pruitt made all of her clothes from feed sacks. Not only were clothes made from these sacks, but also sheets, tablecloths and dollies. Nothing was wasted in the years of Ida Pruitt?s life, (1878-1963).

Yesterday I visited with a cousin of mine, Junior Pruitt. He now lives at the old home place. He?s spent years remodeling and fancying up the old house. I don?t remember going there as a child, I was only four when Grandma Pruitt died. I only remember going into the house one time, and that was about 15 years ago. At that time it was packed full of lumber and saw bucks, you really couldn?t get passed the door. But yesterday as my sister and I followed Junior into Grandma Pruitt?s home, I felt an overwhelming presence of spirits. I looked at my sister and said, ?Gail, do you feel it? They?re here,? they, meaning my Grandma Verlie and Great Uncle Raymond, and Great Aunt Myrtle, and Grandma Pruitt and Grandpa Tom. It was as if they were saying, ?it?s about time you came to visit us.?

Cousin Junior told tale after tale about growing up there at the old home place. His father Raymond, my Grandma Verlie?s brother was a master beekeeper. Junior, as well as my aunt and uncle remember ringing a bell to alert the grown-up?s if the bees started swarming. Junior was paid five cents a day to watch the bees. Raymond?s father Tom was also a beekeeper. Now Junior carries on the tradition of making honey.

Tradition. What about the tradition of storytelling? Who will remember all these things when my aunt, uncle and myself are gone? Who will tell of the feed sacks and honey bees? Who will care? That thought makes me very sad. So, for now I?ll take up my pen and write as many things down as I can. I want my granddaughter to know how her ancestors lived, and who they were. I want to continue this tradition of story telling, even when no one else seems to care. Five generations from now I want my family to know who Mary Ida Carter Pruitt, and Mary Lafayette Martin Lawrence were.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sharon mitchell October 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Sarah, sounds like you have plenty of choices to choose from to get you started on a new book! I am excited for you and cannot wait to read another one!

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