Wonder how many “greats” you get to add before somebody starts saying “an ancestor on your father’s side”? Genealogists would know that. I don’t. This grandpa was on the Hamrick side. He was my husband’s grandmother’s husband. Her name was Cora Lee Hamrick. His name was E.O. Hamrick. He was a railroad conductor who played fiddle. We have the fiddle. It’s worth about five-hundred dollars. No Stradivarius there, but it has a rattle from a rattlesnake inside. This must have been his Sunday watch since he left behind a railroad watch too. Oddly, I never asked Mrs. Hamrick anything else about him. The story has it when he was laid out at home for the wake, Mrs. Hamrick swept up behind the callers as they left. Sounds like her.
My husband and his parents lived with Mrs.Hamrick, Dean’s grandmother. Dean never knew his grandfather. He died before Dean was born. All that remained of him were the watches, the fiddle and an old photograph.
The grandson was an only child. His father told me the boy would sit on the back porch steps and watch the neighborhood boys play with his toys in the dirt. When he was little, their play fascinated him. Perhaps, that’s where he learned to play well with others. A skill he never lost.
One of the toys the boy kept was a wooden top. It must be seventy years old by now. He showed me once how to spin it, but I’ve forgotten. Somehow, you wind a string around it, and start it spinning. When it runs out of string, the thing just sits there spinning. I think that’s the way it went.
This old toy gas tank must have been a favorite of the porch stoop boys. She’s plenty banged up, but she rolls perfectly. She still has some of her shiny silver coat. Ah, little boys and their toys. What fun they must have had. So many stories of climbing trees, catching a squirrel he couldn’t turn loose fast enough, stealing chewing tobacco with his buddy and throwing up green beans after. He never liked green beans again until he was an old man. Yep, it took that long to forget.
This Bible has always made me smile. My husband was a normal, happy kid. He loved everything he did until the day before he died when he had to say goodbye to his own grandson. I never met a man as comfortable in his own skin. He did not, however, show proper respect for his mother’s religion or for her church. Lattimore Baptist Church. He grew up there…carrying his Bible with him. His mother saw to that. I cannot imagine his having studied the Book. From the look of it, I’d say he might well have left it out of doors a a few times after church. He liked to tell stories about the preachers who came and went. It was customary for his family to invite the preacher for lunch after church when it was their turn. One old preacher liked boiled chicken wings with cream gravy. I suspect he had a bad tooth. That was before the last one who finished off Dean’s churchgoing days. The church provided a parsonage for the preacher and his wife if he had one. They also provided a car. There was the rub. When Dean was sixteen and desperately longed for a car, the deacons “took up” money to buy this preacher a new one. A NEW ONE. That was the straw that broke Dean’s religious life. If he ever entered another church, I don’t know about it. His mother kept the Bible.