One of the last memories of Grandpa - the man that hadn't shown any emotion but affection - was a slight smile as he watched me play with a rooster from the front porch. As my young life flashed before my eyes when the bird decided it was tired of my horseplay, the family gathered outside to the sound of my screams echoing through the countryside farm. The soon-to-be poultry chased me around the worn tire now used as a flowerbed. My grandfather knew a spur from a rooster wasn't anything to truly fear. His experiences raising 14 children on a property he and his father had built by hand made this another spectacle of entertainment in the life that was slowly draining from his body.
On the first visit back to my family property in years I learned that my great grandfather could read. It was a time in American history when blacks weren't free - much less educated. He was both. He in turn educated his children and hid in the hills of Saint Francisville. It wasn't the most pristine land being full of hills and soft dirt but it was more than enough for our family's humble beginnings. It was an honor to walk the land of my forefathers and hear the stories of my mom's upbringing as we hiked from Grandpa's home to Great Grandpa's home.