My dad has some great family stories to share, so I’m writing them down so the real Florida is showcased and not lost.
I know it’s not Halloween but who doesn’t like a good creepy tale or two?
My grandfather(my papa) was born at the end of the 19th century. He was a farmer, a carpenter, a jack of all trades in order to provide for his family. He was a no nonsense man with a spark of humor. He loved observing and nicknaming people(my dad was “baby blue”-my dad has green eyes by the way so…), he loved to dance(which is unusual because he was a Baptist), and giving me silver dollars and pennies. He was and continues to be a wonderful father figure to me. He died when I was 5 years old, but I still remember him letting me drive his blue tractor at his farm.
My papa during WWI
My papa had the sight my dad recounted, he saw things or felt things that others didn’t. One such strange occurrence was when papa was about 17-18 years old. He was going with a young lady(my dad didn’t remember her name), who he wanted to marry. He was working at his family farm one day , and this young lady came down the road in a white shift leading a brown heifer cow. My papa stopped what he was doing and went over to talk to her. He asked about her health, and inquired about spending an evening with her;usual polite small talk. She kept interrupting him and told him to go to her house. He thought nothing of it and said he would when he was done with his work. That seemed to make her feel better for she smiled at him and reached out to take his hand, but he stopped her because his hands were dirty and she was wearing white. She looked at him one more time, and then began continuing down the road with the cow. My papa watched her until she turned a corner and got back to work, smiling to himself. Once he got done with his work, he washed up and made his way to his girlfriend’s house(my dad was pretty sure he rode a horse but not positive since my grandfather hated horses-he got kicked in the chin once by a horse-he may have walked). It was twilight when he got to the house, and asked about the young lady. The father of the young lady took him outside and told him that she had died that morning(not sure from what), and they were so devastated that they hadn’t come over to his father’s farm to let him know. My papa was shocked and devastated, but when he told him that he had seen her along the road. The father looked at him and said, “son that’s impossible…”(my dad’s exact words). My papa did not marry until his mid 30’s.
My papa did not like his picture taken and would go to extreme lengths to not sit still for one. So a lot of later photographs of him are either fuzzy, grainy , or far off pics.
Picking figs for my mama’s famous fig preserves-so good on biscuits.
This next story still gives me goosebumps. My grand parents had 3 sons: my dad, my uncle Franklin, and my uncle Fyord. My papa’s favorite son was my Dad and my grandmother’s favorite son was Franklin, but both of them loved their youngest equally. He was good natured and he loved to fish, he was a carpenter like his dad, and he was a new Dad and another on the way. My dad tells the story, my uncle was over at his parents house with his family for dinner when he mentioned he was going with some of his Attaway cousins to go night fishing. My grandfather from what was recounted tried to talk his son out of going. His argument included not liking those young men, the dangers of night fishing, etc. In the end, he told his son “…if you go into that boat son, we’re going to pull you out of that river dead.”(exact words from my dad). His son went, he drank, something happened…my uncle (a strong swimmer) drowned at 25 and left behind a wife, a 18 month daughter, and a son he would never meet. My papa was the one who found him and pulled his body from the river.
Another instance of him having intuition, the sight, whatever you want to call it; my dad was going to visit his parents for the weekend(when we lived in Alabama). My grandmother called my mom and told her that papa was in a frantic mood all day, that under no circumstances should my dad come to the house that weekend. Why? Papa wouldn’t tell her. Come to find out, that night my uncle Franklin, who had drank a little too much whiskey, came to my grandparents house with his shotgun ready to kill my dad. Coincidence? Hmm.
Again thank you Dad for sharing stories about my papa.
Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,