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Showing posts with label grandfather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grandfather. Show all posts

Monday, March 12, 2018


This scene (and so the picture) is an image I never want to forget. It is also full of reminders of these days in our life as a family. It is a record of a day in early March, 2018 - a day of sunshine and planting and doing things together. You can tell that Joe and Nora are planting seeds and seedlings. I also see trust and tenderness between an 80 year old grandfather and an almost 4 year old little girl. What the photo does not reflect that my heart does is the back story.  Nora and I read Jan Karon's book The Trellis and the Seed,  a beautifully illustrated children's book by one of my favorite authors - one I have given to all my grandchildren, usually with a package of Moonflower seeds tucked inside. I told Nora we would look to see if there were Moonflower seeds in our box of garden seeds. Joe said he had Moonflower seeds sprouting already under his growlight! Then Nora's mom found a bag of seeds collected from last years Moonflowers. So the planting is a picture of extended family and cooperation.

Now there are sprouts. We check every day for leafing and climbing. We will all watch for the first fragrant white blooms that grace us only at night, fading just as the Morning Glories begin to open!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

For the Love of Oliver

Photograph by Joe D. Parker

 Oliver Hilton Parker is sunshine on this foggy day!  He has changed from baby boy to toddler as he begins to walk and explore. He is the first of our grandchildren to be a boy, and also the first to live with Joe and me. He is named for his great grandfather, Joe's Daddy - Oliver Byron Parker and his other grandfather, Kelly Hilton Edwards.. He and his Papa Joe have a special bond, a mutual admiration society. Each seems to know what the other is thinking and saying without any talking!

 I smile when I watch them together - the 80 year old grandfather and the almost 15 months boy.  They clearly adore each other Of course, Joe is crazy about all his granddaughters too. And without exception, Oliver's sister and all his girl cousins, his parents and all his other grandparents, aunts and uncles think he is special too.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ky Terrell

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.

Monday, May 22, 2017


This is the first chocolate tomato harvested this year.  If the birds do not get to them before we do, there should be many more, along with other types of heirloom tomato goodies. I fell in love once with a tomato called Cherokee Purple,  An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; it has a beautiful deep dusky purple-rosy red color and sweet flavor.  And so I began to learn more about heirloom plants in general, and especially tomatoes. I love them for their stories, for their names, and for the adventure of growing them. They are not as hardy as the recently hybridized tomatoes. In addition to these 2, this year we have Brandywine, Louisiana Pink, Eva Purple Ball, and Kosovo plus a yellow heirloom I failed to tag. No, we don't have a large garden, only 1 or 2 plants of each. Joe, Ben, and my daughter in law Kristen do most of the work, and I get to pick a tomato or two and enjoy the benefits. Nora, at 3, already loves harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes and peppers with her mom. 

I find heirloom plants intriguing, and am thankful for the pleasure gardening brings to all of us.  I believe the love of gardening is another heirloom, one passed down to me and mine from my parents and grandparents, who first showed me how to garden, but also introduced me to delicious fresh food on our table.  Long before the current farm to table trends, I knew that eating local (as in very local, our own garden) tasted better and helped to keep us healthy.  

Celebrating Heirlooms!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oliver Byron Parker

Guest Post by Joe Parker

This is my father, Oliver Parker. Daddy and his twin sister, Dora, were born 112 years ago today on February 17, 1905. All of my family loved and are so proud of this great man in our lives and we miss him very, very much. This is a picture of Daddy at about age 12 with a friend.

Note:  My father-in-law, Oliver Parker, passed away before Joe and I were married, so I never met him. But he left a legacy of hard work, perserverance, faith, and love as communicated through the years to me by my husband and his brothers and sister. Now there is another Oliver Parker, his great grandson who bears his name - our baby grandson, Oliver Hilton Parker! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ky and Clyde

Ky and Clyde
In the week that leads up to Valentine's Day, I am reflecting about the couples and marriages that have been part of my understanding of love and commitment. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents and my parents had the "until death do us part" kind of marriage.  And since they lived a fairly long time, that meant many years together.

The photograph above is one of the last ones I have of both of them.  It has been stored away for many years, and Joe's scanning project brought it to my attention again.  I am so grateful for these two and their love for me.  I remember Papa's hearty laugh, his toothless grin, the way he bent down low over a small radio to listen to baseball games. I remember Grandma's hands kneading biscuit dough, scattering scraps for the chickens, tucking me into a feather bed, doing fine needlework and quilting, the way she lived out her faith.  Life was not easy for them.  They had few comfortable amenities, and a great deal of heartbreak. But they did their best and shared what they did have. Ky's birthday, February 17(1885), and Clyde's on March 15 (1887) prompt me to think of them with great respect and admiration. They were married in 1905, and were together until Ky's death in 1965, a month short of his 80th birthday.  Clyde lived on for another 12 years, dying in 1977.  Their 60 years of marriage is a tribute to making a life together.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thank Heaven for Little Girls, and their Daddies

Christmastime is a time for reflection , remembering, and for savoring moments of love and tenderness.  I love watching my sons with their daughters.  I love watching my granddaughters with their Daddies. In this photo, Jordann has found a sweet safe place in Jeremy's arms.  Both of our two older sons have 2 daughters, and now our youngest son and his wife are expecting their own little girl.  When baby Nora arrives in the Spring, she will have a circle of girl cousins to welcome her and the adoring attention of her Mother, Grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles.  But I can hardly wait to see her Daddy hold her. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013


                                                   Opal Antionette Terrell  in 1914

October 19, 2013

Tonight I am in Tyler, Texas – the city of my birth almost 73 years ago. As I stand looking out on the busy street below my hotel room window, I think of my mother and father and the small clinic where I was born. Tomorrow would have been Mother's 100th birthday so we will go to visit her grave in a small cemetery in Bullard, Texas -  a small town south of here where both my maternal and paternal grandparents lived, and where Mother and Daddy met and were married, and where their remains lie, marked by a single piece of granite.  The cemetery is the burial place for many others of my relatives, and is a place I visit not out of obligation or of belief that I am visiting them, but as a sign of respect and a way of keeping our family story. A way of saying “I remember.”

Today is also a day that I gave birth to our second son, who was born only minutes before midnight the night before what was then my mother's 67th birthday. She came shortly after his birth and welcomed her newest grandchild and splendid birthday gift.  Birthing day and all his boyhood birthdays, these too, remembered.  

                                  Opal and her oldest brother, Vinnon Terrell  in  1914

                                         Opal, her oldest brother Vinnon, and younger brother, Travis

                                                            Opal Terrell

Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Photographs

This picture wall is between our master bedroom and great room which also has our kitchen, so I walk through the area many times a day - from first thing in the early morning to last thing before I go to bed at night.  In the eight years we have lived in this house, I have rearranged the wall a number of times, particularly as new babies join our family circle.  Sometimes I stop to adjust a frame or touch a smiling face. Often, I stop, loving the connection with individuals and the gathering of all of us as family.  Those are the times I thank God for Joe and our sons and their wives and our grandchildren.  Through the ups and downs of our lives, we remain connected.  Sometimes I let my eyes travel from frame to frame, praying for daily strength and peace, fortitude in adversity, wisdom in plans, discernment for challenges, joy in new beginnings,   and overall that we will love God and each other well. Soon we will add another photograph.  Our family is growing.  I am blessed and grateful. Our story continues!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm Here!!

Each year, one of my favorite harbingers of Spring is the sudden appearance of Redbud blooms on the gray scraggly branches of what has been an almost unnoticed small tree in someone's backyard or the woods along the road.  In the Piney Woods of East Texas where my husband and I spent our growing up years, the first blooms seemed to signal to dozens of other early blooming trees that it was Spring again. The woods lining the highway between Jacksonville, Texas and my grandparent's smaller town of Bullard seemed to come alive in a patchwork of wild plum, dogwood, and various shades of purple from the Redbud trees. We see fewer here south of Houston, but the fact that they bloom even earlier in the slightly balmier climate makes them stand out even more.  The first blooms bring my biggest smile.  I like being reminded of the joy they brought me as a child.  And they bring fond memories of my mother and daddy and grandparents who first taught me to watch for them.

The Redbuds are blooming.  Easter is on the way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


                       Howard Teal and his first grandson, Sean Parker, Christmas 1968

This picture speaks to me of Christmas past and Christmas present, even Christmas yet to come.  My Daddy is holding our first son. How proud he was!  Sean loved his Papa, and already loved books. They are delighting each other with the reading of The Night Before Christmas.  Can't you hear "...up the chimney he rose?"  With this book, as in most, arriving at the last page meant "again, read it again!"

So, as I bring in the boxes of decorations and begin pulling out all the old familiar ornaments and set up the manger scenes, I am brimming with both tears and smiles, thinking how good it is to do it again.  I set up our advent wreath and candles and fill the big basket with all the children's Christmas books read and reread so many times.  I stack my Christmas piano music and practice the arrangements of White Christmas and Silent Night that I have played for so many years now.  I  am thankful that I did most purchases for gifts before Thanksgiving, so that shopping is not on my to do list, and I can spend  more time re-calibrating during Advent.  I listen to my favorite Christmas CD, James Galway's Christmas Carol.  On the way to Bethlehem, again.