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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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The Old Grandfather

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and
four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight
was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the
table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight
made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.
When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son
and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.
"We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. "I've had
enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There
Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a
wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction,
sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only
words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped
a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before
supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the
floor he asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"
Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl
for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up."
The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so
struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to
stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what
must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and
gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his
days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither
husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped,
milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Submitted by Jean Brand

Dear Ancestor

>Your tombstone stands among the rest;
>Neglected and alone.
>The name and date are chiseled out
>On polished, marbled stone.
>It reaches out to all who care
>It is too late to mourn.
>You did not know that I exist
>You died and I was born.
>Yet each of us are cells of you
>In flesh, in blood, in bone.
>Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
>Entirely not our own.
>Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
>One hundred years ago
>Spreads out among the ones you left
>Who would have loved you so.
>I wonder if you lived and loved,
>I wonder if you knew
>That someday I would find this spot,
>And come to visit you.>
>--Author Unknown
Submitted by Carolyn Byrum

"Our dead are greater and more truly alive than we are!
when we forget them, it is our whole fortune that we lose sight of:
And when we fail in respect to them,
It is our own immortal soul that we are trampling under our feet."
Maurice Masterlinck

"Both justice and decency require that we should bestow on our
Forefathers an honorable mention."

"In horses - or men, boys, believe me or not, not pedigree counts if
the colt doesn't trot."
S. Omar Barker

"After working on branches," said one witty chap,
I have placed myself in this tree as a Sap!
to me, it was true, the story he told,
For I have thought of myself as a "Sap" growing old!
These thoughts have others, but - say! do you know
That a tree without "Sap" cannot hope to grow?
A request I am making - and including YOU,
To help with this search as other "Saps" do
Go into libraries, courthouses, and such
In the hope that You and Your Tree can add more.
Let us not let the "Branches" of this tree turn brown
As other trees do when their SAP has run down,
For in each branch and twig some "sap" must run free
To make of this "Sapling" a "Big Family Tree"!

Taken from THE CASWELL FAMILY TREE a book loaned to me by my sister
Linda Mackey Parrish
submitted by Carolyn Mackey Byrum

"Oklahoma Graveyard"

Old sorrows, sudden joys lie buried here,
In sterile tombs beneath December sun.
Clad now in dry, dun needle grass
With leaning headstones weathered grey,
The dead lie still like children weaned,
Their worries, pain, and sharp desire all put away.
An Osage mound here testifies
Of dying warriors passed unseen.
Gaunt cowboys rest in unmarked graves,
And Uncle John held fast between
Two brides sighs, "Pity me on Resurrection Day."
Near Blanche McClure, her sharp tongue still at last
Lies Sam McClure, now thankfully at rest.
(A good man's steps are ordered by the Lord;
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down.)
And here lies Mary Hughs, struck down by cyclone blast:
"Blessed are the pure in heart; for they'll see God."

They're all encoffined here, in dry red earth,
Awaiting. . . what?
"The Resurrection," Mary Hughs would say,
"Christ, the Resurrection and the Life."
But Uncle John would vote for "Spring."
Yes,  Spring to warm these cold white bones
Imprisoned in the clay.
For wine cups, prairie phlox, and rose vervain,
For mourning dove and meadow lark to call again,
With mocking birds, and timid whippoorwill.
Warm gulf winds shall cross the Washita and find this field.
But now, the north wind, restless, cold and dry;
Sobs old secrets here beneath blue sky,
Moans through bare oak and cedar boughs,
Lamenting barren lives
and broken vows.

An original poem by Kathryn Thompson Presley
Published in 
Milking Time
See Mrs. Presley's Klondike page

"Country Baptizing"

Cicadas hum in the cottonwood trees,
Dragonflies dart above the creek.
The August sun beams down like Shekinah glory.
A shining emblem of the majesty we seek.
Our brothers and sisters stand in the shade,
Singing, "Shall We Gather at the River."
In pecan trees, upstream, a rowdy crow's caucus,
Gives background music to our hymns of faith.
("Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.")
Then, Preacher in white shirt, blue jeans, and wading boots,
Divides the still brown water, lifts holy hands to bless,
Calling contrite sinners to be clothed in righteousness.
(Now we, once lost, are found; once blinded,  now we see.)
He grasps myhead with hands of steel, declaring truth;
And I submit, a trembling leap of faith,
To Jehovah Jireh.
(My eyes shut out the day--
Recalling cottonmouths,
Seen here just yesterday!)

An original poem by Kathryn Thompson Presley
Published in 
Milking Time
See Mrs. Presley's Klondike page

By Mrs. John Wright

   My Soldier Brother
by Lorene Lynn
Till My Husband Comes Home
by Winifred Welcher Lynn

submitted by Marsha Miller

Son's gift keeps Mother's Day tradition alive

By Carla Gillogly-Torres The Daily News Published May 13, 2001

A mother's bond with her child goes far beyond words. Far beyond what any family picture will show. Far beyond what any mother can explain.
The bond from birth is never-ending. Paula Gross of Galveston knows that bond. Gross is a retired teacher of 32 years.
She taught at Island School before it was demolished and rebuilt as Parker Elementary. She is the mother of one son, Terry.
Terry was the only child of Paula and Wiley Gross. He grew up in Galveston and went on to graduate from the University of Texas with
a degree in architectural engineering. That was Paula's fondest memory of Terry. When he received his degree in engineering,
she said she knew that he was ready to go out into the world. He went to work with Brown & Root and was assigned to Vietnam.
After Vietnam, Terry started his own company and spent much of his time traveling around the world. However, the one thing
Terry always made sure of was flowers for Mother's Day. Wherever he was, he always made sure his mom had plenty of flowers.
Terry returned home from Saudi Arabia after his father became ill with cancer. When his father died, he stayed with his mother
to help with the house and other details. One of the things he did was to completely landscape the backyard.
He took an interest in landscaping along with fishing and golfing. He planted a magnolia tree along with a Bird of Paradise
tree among many other beautiful plants in the yard. For three years, he cared for the yard. The magnolia tree, one of Paula's
favorite trees, would not bloom no matter how much care was taken. Terry became ill with a rare form of cancer and passed away.
The following Mother's Day, the magnolia bloomed. And it has bloomed every Mother's Day since.
"He's saying Happy Mother's Day.  He's never missed one in his life," said Paula Gross.

Editor's note: Paula Gross's niece, Kathryn Presley of Bryan, has plans to submit this story in the "Chicken Soup" series.       

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