October is here with her promise of golden days and flamboyant autumn scenery, but the beauty is not here yet.
There is one lone red leaf on the maple tree on the bank, but all the rest remain solid green. This will not last, however, as the coming frost and freeze will change the leaves to many colors.
October has always been a special month to me, not only besides the glorious foliage, but also because of the different things that have happened in this month. For one thing, our second son was born at this time. We really didn’t plan to have another baby just then, but Kevin Myles Bragg was a blessing, and still is.
We were living in Jackson County at that time, in an old farmhouse that Daddy had bought. We had electric power, but no natural gas, and our water came from a well installed on the back porch. It consisted of a bucket tied to a rope that was reeled down in the well, and hauled up by hand cranking a wooden handle. The water was cold and pure, and very plentiful. The well supplied our drinking water, household needs and wash water.
For heat and cooking, we had to burn wood. This was something new to me, but I soon learned how to poke wood in the old iron cook stove, and how to start a fire with kindling. The stove had a reservoir made on the side of it that heated water while I cooked. I had to guess at the oven’s temperature when I baked bread, and I had plenty of flops. My crowning achievement was a Thanksgiving dinner that I prepared for Mom, Daddy and the family. I roasted a turkey in that temperamental oven that turned out golden brown and perfect. That was a perfect day also; a golden Indian summer day, with red and yellow leaves floating through the air. The entire family was there, and it was such a loving day that it is still alive in our memories.
I still remember how our sister Susie ate her dinner out on the front porch, seated on the old wood box. She ate without bread, as she was embarrassed to ask for a biscuit, she told us later. I’m glad that she outgrew that! Mom and Daddy have been gone for a long time, and Mark and Ronnie are also gone. Yet that day glows bright in my mind, and will always be a precious memory.
We had moved there while the aluminum plant was being built at Ravenswood, but unfortunately, Criss was laid off after three months of employment. To say that we were “hard-up” would be an understatement. He drew $11. per week unemployment compensation, but we never went in debt. Of course, white beans and cornbread was our staple menu, and I worried that my diet would affect Kevin’s growth. (I learned later from a nutritionist that it was perfect protein, and we also had a milk cow which provided milk and butter.) Kevin was the biggest baby that I had, weighing eight pounds and ten ounces.
I came back to Mom’s in Clay County a couple of weeks before he was due, in order for him to be born at Dr. A.A. Smith’s clinic. While I was there, the Early Transparent apple tree began giving out its fruit and Criss canned 80 quarts of applesauce while I was gone.
Kevin was born a beautiful and healthy baby, with hands so big that Mom remarked that they looked like leaf rakes waving above his bassinette. When you had a baby in Dr. Smith’s clinic, you were allowed to go home after two hours, if there were no complications. I came home without a baby.
The family decided to take him on home while I was waiting for two hours. They stopped at my sister Mary Ellen’s, and they rocked and snuggled him while I came home empty-handed. Soon I was allowed to hold him, and show brother Mike and sister Patty their new sibling. He was such a good baby, seldom cried and then only if he was hungry.
All my boys are special, and so are my daughters. I love and appreciate each one. We are thankful for all of them, but sometimes one of them needs special attention.
Looking back, I realize now that Kevin never gave us an ounce of trouble while he was growing up. He graduated from high school and got married at age 18. He made his way up in the company that he started working for, West Virginia Paving Company, and recently received a BA degree in Business Administration from studying online. He was always absorbed in his classes, and made straight A’s in high school—except for a B in Physics. How he fretted about that! He would say, “No matter how hard I try, I can’t make above a B in that class!”
As his birthday rolls around, I want him to know how much we love and appreciate him. Now that his beloved wife Sarah is gone, it is going to be hard for him go on without her support. Life brings us many changes, and unexpected things that bow us down. God is able to uphold us, strengthen us, and encourage us to plod ahead. Life does go on, but someday it will end. Let us be ready to meet the Maker of the universe.
THE ROSE STILL GROWS BEYOND THE WALL
By A. L. Frink
Near a shaded wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
Through which there shone a beam of light.
Onward it crept with added strength,
With never a thought of fear or pride.
It followed the light through the crevice’s length,
And enfolded itself on the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before;
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.
Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
And make our courage faint or fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive:
The rose still grows beyond the wall.
Scattering fragrance far and wide,
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forevermore.
Bloom on, Sarah, we will never forget you~