Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
TITLE: Georgia Folks
By Sharon Eastman
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Years ago Mom and I flew to a tiny backwoods village in Georgia to attend a family funeral. My eyes first captured a cabin with surroundings that appeared to be straight from the 1930s, straight from The Grapes of Wrath. Out of the lopsided wooden structure, with an outhouse to boot, flocked the family with all the affection of true Southern hospitality. Although they had never seen me, they seemed as sweet as honey.
While the warm greetings flourished, my eyes perused my surroundings. Oak, maple, and fir trees dotted the landscape and dogs and chickens ran freely throughout the acre property. I was used to dogs, but I had never been that close to chickens in my life.
When we finally entered the cabin to escape the scorching sun, I almost fainted from viewing its interior. There, above Grandma’s rocking chair were bullet holes shot into the cracked plaster wall. Ironically there hung a cross and on the floor in a shelf was the Good Book. The furniture was shabby, but the adornments were spotless. I sat down in sister Rachel’s chair and felt comfortable until a chicken stood there. Chickens were as welcome in this house as people and dogs. I was amazed!
They seemed to be loving and hospitable folk, and they lavished love upon Mom. But they were suspicious of all strangers. I felt naked while they questioned and scrutinized me with smiles that betrayed hostile eyes.
Conversations about other people, kids, relatives and health wafted through the air. With that opening Grandma proudly displayed her kidney stones that were stored in a canning jar. Grandpa was quick to offer us his moonshine, and we couldn’t refuse a sip of this liquid fire. No doubt there was a hidden still nearby with shady moonshiners.
Out pranced son, Gerald with his shotgun. With smoldering eyes and a twisted smile, he personified evil. I was further frightened when he reached in his tattered jeans and retrieved a glistening pistol. Loyalty was a mighty virtue to this family and if anyone hurt any member, revenge from Gerald was forthcoming.
All sorts of folks wandered in and out of this cabin, just like The Beverly Hillbillies. There were sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and friends. Then to my amazement one of the most handsome men I’d ever seen strode in. He was tall, dark, and handsome with an Elvis aura and an Elvis smirk. He, Ken, kissed all the ladies and shook hands with the men. I blushed when he greeted me with a warm, hearty handshake, and I was swept off my feet by his deep, charming Texas drawl. I quickly learned that Ken was a son-in-law, husband to a rather plain but personable daughter. From my observations they were the stars of the crowd.
We attended the family funeral, and being farmed out to different relative’s homes, we stayed a few extra days. The funeral occurred in Savannah, and although it was sad, I reveled in the beauty of this enchanting, historic city. While clinging to the kind folks of our heritage, we said our good-byes and flew home to Detroit.
A few months after that interesting visit, Mom received a call from down home Georgia. We were shocked, (but not really) to learn that Gerald shot and killed Ken in a bar fight. The rumor and reason was that Ken had disrespected Grandpa. In loyalty and family honor Gerald killed this man. No murder charges were pressed, and Ken was laid to rest without fanfare. Gerald got away with murder. This murder case was like a fantasy to me and just as memorable.
We all know the biblical account of Cain and Abel. Cain, mad with jealousy, slew his brother, Abel, and murder entered this world. Just years after the glorious Garden of Eden experience, Adam and Eve grieved the death of a child. Dysfunctional families cause rampant sin in this world for generations. The only cure is the love and salvation of Jesus Christ. (Genesis 4:8 KJV)
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