Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lovey and "The Woods"

At Christmas for many years our church has made an Advent devotion booklet to enjoy during Christmas time. The church staff as well as church members contribute devotions on  the themes of Love, Joy, Peace and Hope. In 2006, I was asked to write a devotion on Love. The following was my entry.


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before Him in love; having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His desire, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved, in whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace..." Ephesians 1:3-7

From birth until I was about eleven years old, I spent a portion of everyday with my grandparents, Honey and Lovey. They were my very own "day care".

Lovey was a gentleman farmer and owned a farm named "The Woods", several miles from town. There he had cows, deer stands, catfish ponds, a large garden and a log cabin that he and Honey built with logs from the land. Needless to say, life with my grandparents was always busy.

Lovey and I were really close. He was a big joker, always getting the last laugh. I would spend my days playing outside at Honey's house, listening for Lovey's arrival. I always knew when he was almost home when I heard his mud grip tires humming along on the pavement. I would run to greet him at the gate where I would get to tell him about my day and also tattle on whatever mischief I thought  Honey had been into that day too. This became our daily game.

 When I was in the third grade, I accidentally discovered that Lovey was not my real granddad, but my step-granddad instead. Everyone assumed I knew and told me that they had not intentionally kept it from me. I was still surprised to say the least.

Although Lovey was my step-granddad and I didn't know it; he did. It did not matter to him. He loved me as his own. At my birth he included me in his family tree.

When I was nine years old, Lovey was diagnosed with cancer. He fought that battle strong and hard. Four years later, on his death bed barely conscious, a nurse came and woke him. She asked loudly, " Mr. Bennie, do you know Jesus?" He awakened enough to answer, "Yes, I know Jesus!" These were his last words.

Many years have passed since that heartbroken little girl lost her granddad. I am thankful that Lovey shared the love of Jesus with me through his actions. He loved me unconditionally and adopted me  just as Jesus has.

Some months after Lovey's death, I asked Jesus to become my Savior and Lord. One day I will meet Jesus face-to-face and once again I will meet Lovey at the gate.

Photos of Honey, Lovey and The Woods...

                                        Lovey and Me at Honey and Lovey's house....

                                    Lovey on the tractor.

                                  Lovey with Princess and Speedy. He wanted to raise Brahmas and my great grandfather, Papa Creel gave him two calves that were rejected by their mothers...these had to be bottlefed. I have been told, that as a small child I used to take a nap by these two and lay my head on their sides...not too many people can say they napped with a bull and lived to tell about it...too bad there's no picture proof of that!
                                  This is me and my cousin Becky feeding Princess in Honey's yard. Princess was named Princess cause she was just pretty like a Princess I guess...and Speedy was named Speedy because he didn't get in a hurry to do anything...maybe we should have named him Ferdinand the Bull.

                                Here's Lovey with a deer he got during hunting season. Check out my expression! I think this is the deer that's head ended up being mounted and placed in the "formal living room" at Honey's house over the tv set.... My Uncle Clyde is in the photo as well...he is holding up Big Ruff in the photo...you can see Uncle Clyde's Cowboy hat...I was afraid of Uncle Clyde for a long time until he gave me a baby goat, but that's a story for another day.
                                   We used to fish a lot. There were several ponds at "the place" or The Woods as it was mostly called. One pond was called the "limby pond" because it was full of downed trees and limbs and more than likely you would get your line hung on and old stick before the day was over. And we wonder why I love catfish so much...because it's the best food on earth and we used to eat it a lot...and we ate it a lot because it was the best food on earth...

                                   Here's Honey with the Brahmas at "the woods"

                                   Here's me at the cabin that Honey and Lovey built with logs from the land. A porch was later added with a wash table...( no running water so we brought water from home to wash our hands in) There was a 2 seater outhouse out back...watch for snakes before you ...well you know! Later on, an additon was added to the cabin...a larger kitchen, den and bathroom...the bathroom had a toilet, but it remained in the box...it never got hooked up during the time that we had the woods...the kitchen was used to put up corn from the massive garden and also to process meat for the freezer ( such as when a pig or deer was butchered) those were usually hung on my swingset out back and ...well...yeah you get the picture)....
Here's Lovey with his green datsun ...this is the truck with the mud grip tires that I could always hear before it made it to Honey's house...Ready is sitting on the hood of the truck...she is a puppy here. Little Ruff is at Lovey's feet. They made a good hunting dog team. (RUFF AND READY).......Ready was the best beagle ever...I even taught her tricks...she lived to be at least 14 years old. There's a photo of me and her somewhere but that's a photo for another day too.

Last Summer, Karl, the kids and I went back home to MS and checked out all our haunts. When we went to Natchez, I talked them into riding down to the woods. I had not been back to the woods since Honey sold it after Lovey's death in 1981. I was probably 13 years old the last time I had been back down some of these roads. I even got emotional as we came to the old sibley store that basically looked the same as when I was a girl...some how I doubt the inside had the flat coolers with coke in a bottle...I didn't go in...I left it in my memory as it was...we then went up the road behind and around the back of the store as I had done so many times in my youth...I was usually sitting either in the cab of the pickup with Honey and Lovey or riding in the back...( they don't let you ride in the back anymore...it's against the law)..I took photos of the old sites..
                                         Here's the road sign...we are heading in the right direction..Cause our woods was a part of the original Buckhurst Plantation...I hear that someone has a Bed and Breakfast at part of the old Buckhurst Plantation...and clothing is optional...CAN you believe that? What's the world coming too?

When I caught sight of the bridge headed to the woods...my voice cracked...the emotions surprised me...what memories...
                                        Here's the Ole Jenkins' house...it has since been remodeled in to a show place but back in the day it was not so nice...this was on the way to our woods....We went a little farther...but couldn't go over the cattle gap and down around the levy by the limby pond past Uncle Clyde's old house and over the back toward the cabin...(Private Property)...I have heard it's all different now...and I want it to remain in my head like it is...Perfect!

Honey and Lovey and the woods...such sweet childhood memories....

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