Ky and Clyde Terrell, circa early 1950's
I recently saw a FaceBook post referring to the son of my friend Barbara Nichols. We called her Bobbie, a college friend who got her degree in nursing at the same time I did. She married, as I did, before we graduated. But she was pregnant during our senior year with their first child, a son they decided to name after my own matrnal grandfather. She heard me talk about Papa Terrell's name, shortened for understandable reasons. I believe he was named for my great grandmother's father, Hezekiah Wilson. It is easy to think how a tiny baby boy born in 1885 and named Hezekiah Peyton Terrell would come to be called "Ky" for the rest of his life! When I noticed the post about Ky Nichols, I thought of my grandfather as I often do and realized I have never written a post that was just about him. I loved him dearly and knew that feeling was mutual.
My mother often told stories of how proud he was when I was born, his first grandchild. The earliest stories included ones of his getting down on the floor and letting me ride him like a horse even though he had been "laid up" with a bad back before we came. He was toothless and loved the angel food cake and divinity without nuts Grandma made for him. He was an avid baseball fan, leaning over his small radio to listen to the games.I remember his laugh, hearty and loud, and his cheerful spirit in spite of heartbreak and hardships like loosing his oldest son at age 13 to a hunting accident, making do during the depression, failing health including a stroke, and suffering along with his other sons during mental health crises. He was a farmer and at one time owned a small general store with his son Travis. My memory does not include his owning a car. He thumbed a ride at the bottom of the hill they lived on near Bullard to go to town for Grandma's small list of supplies.
When he died in 1965, Joe and I were in Oregon. Before computers and cell phones, a long distance call in which Mother told me caused me to weep for not being able to say goodbye to him, for not being there for my grandmother and mother, and for knowing I could not make it to the funeral. We were preparing to move back to Texas within a week. Plane tickets were too expensive to consider. The trip from Corvallis, Oregon to Texas would take days. When we did get there, I remember Mother and Grandma were in the kitchen of the house where I grew up on Sunset Avenue in Jacksonville. And I remember that as I embraced my grandmother and sobbed, she was the one who comforted me.