From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Community Remembers Miss Lorene

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... The Rural Life...



A dear elderly neighbor lady, Miss Lorene, has passed away, and I've been to the "visitation" tonight. Many folks from our community were there. Most of them have known each other all their lives, and quite a few of them are related to each other if you go back far enough in the family trees.

A slide show with pictures of Miss Lorene through the years was playing on a screen. She was a teenager in some of the photos, a pretty girl with a spit curl on her forehead. One of the photos was of her baptism in a river. In another photo, her tall young husband stood beside her, holding their first child. Later, there were more children, and then grandchildren.

The photos reminded people of stories. A neighbor lady told me about a baby shower she once had for Lorene. It was a surprise shower, but Lorene's husband had been informed. "You'd better dress up when you take those eggs over to Margie's," he told his wife. "They have company." He knew she'd want to look nice.

Another neighbor lady told me how hard Lorene had always worked in the fields. Tobacco fields are tended by hand every day just like a garden. Nowadays, many farmers hire Mexicans to work the tobacco, but back then, people worked their own. When it was harvest time, neighbors helped each other. They called it "trading work." This neighbor lady remembered trading work many times with Lorene and her husband.

Miss Lorene and her husband had ten children. Most of them still live in Christian County. I've always respected that family for taking good care of their mother. They planted her garden and took care of it, mowed the lawn, helped her get to town, and most importantly of all, visited her often. I'm not the only one who has noticed. People commented on that tonight.

One of the girls called a couple of days ago to let us know that Miss Lorene had gone on. I am glad she called. I might have learned it elsewhere, but maybe I would have missed it somehow.

Then I wouldn't have heard those stories or seen those wonderful old photos. And I wouldn't have had a chance to tell my own bit of Miss Lorene's life story -- something that perhaps others didn't know -- that she reached out and welcomed me when I was a newcomer to the community. I'll not forget her kindness.

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3 comments:

Collagemama said...

I love how the photos led to the sharing of stories. I feel like I was there for the visitation.

Mourningdove's Serendipity said...

Thank you so much for sharing this touching experience. Your writing is so wonderful. You are my favorite, favorite blog! Never stop writing! You make me crave for the sweet, simple life that sadly we are losing. Keep it alive!

Genevieve said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies. It wasn't a happy occasion, but happiness and better times were remembered. That's about as good as it gets at a this sort of gathering.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.