The farmhouse still stands, but the tractor my Pa Albert used is long gone, along with the animals, chickens, and barns. His prize scuppernong vines and muscadine thicket remain. I still taste their tartness as when I was a child.
In my earliest memories, Pa Albert loved to set me in his lap. I was the youngest grandchild at the time and ate up the attention. His overalls were clean and starched, but rougher than Mama Sewell’s cotton apron. I don’t ever remember seeing him in anything but overalls.
At precisely six o’clock each evening, we’d huddle in the den around a tiny radio to listen to “The Lone Ranger,” Pa Albert’s favorite. We “young’uns” were not allowed to interrupt or make any noise. If we entered the den, it was understood that either we sat in Pa Albert’s lap or at this feet beside the cane rocker. No exceptions. Dinner would have been laid, eaten, and cleaned up by the time his program came on. Sometimes if we were very good, Pa Albert hid treats like peppermint candy in his pockets and we were allowed to hunt for them.
Pa Albert liked me and my cousins. He took a lot of time with us. I must have been around three years old when a patrolman came to our door and gave us bad news. My parents were upset at his news. The service at the Fairview Methodist Church made Daddy cry. I didn’t understand very much about what was going on. I only knew that I couldn’t sit on Pa Albert’s lap anymore.
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