A GLIMPSE OF DAD'S YOUTH
(LOG WAGON TO SPACE SHIP)
What an interesting time to have lived in.
My head contains a history book from the log
wagon days to space exploration. I have witnessed
seventy six years of it so far. There has always
been this specter in my memory. Well, I had to
start life somewhere.
There was this big oak tree in front of our house.
The house was a shack on a clay hill in Mississippi,
next to a dusty gravel road. It may have been a shack
but inside it was a happy home. There was no fear in
my mind, or in my heart. "Son, Jesus will take care of
us." That was mother's answers to everything.
We had moved there during the 1927 Louisiana flood. Dad
sent us up from New Orleans to the safety of the hill
country, in Mississippi. He was afraid some one would
blow the levy to relieve the pressure on their side of
the river. He stayed and guarded the levy. The water was
at the top of the levy when we boarded the old stern paddle
wheel ferry. We actually boarded it, We walked up a board
to get aboard. The specter of danger. It was hard to make
a living on the clay hills.
My grandparents lived on the next hill. On my dad's side his
parents were gone. Would have been nice to have two grandmothers
and grandfathers. Perhaps that made me feel alone. My mother's
parents raised six girls and one boy. They have all gone to be
with Jesus now. Why did the old oak tree stick in my mind. After
my brother Earl died, I was alone again. Being the first born
brought loneliness. It came with the territory. Do you know
about loneliness? I am sure we all do. After Earl died, there
was no three year old playmate anymore. There was the tree with
the roots sticking out of the ground and the red dust and dirt.
I had boils that would really get to me. I tried to ride on the
log wagon but would bounce me so bad, I would get off and walk.
that hurt nearly as bad as riding. I could identify with one of
the Bible characters named Job. I had sympathy for him. It was
a miserable childhood in summer with the heat and those boils.
It was a haven of rest in our home. How wonderful it is to have
parents that love each other and love you. There were two beds
a couple of chairs and a cook table. I remember one thing that
was very important. There was a light, Mother turned on that has
shined down these seventy six years. Mother had a Hulbert Bible
Story Book, with pictures. She introduced me to Jesus, and the
light of the world never dimmed.
There was something about that lonesome tree. I was introduced
to death at an early age. So much of mother's happiness was gone.
Only one son under the oak tree now. I did not understand, So many
flowers trying to cover the smell of the decaying little body. It
turned down the burner of happiness that burned so brightly in the
young mother's eyes. She put on the happy front for the rest of her
life. Her eyes were never the as bright.
There was no pretty grass under the old oak tree, just red clay dirt.
It was the best Mother and Dad could do. The whole picture was not
that bad. Every one else were poor. There were different degrees of
poor. I was rich having a Mother and Dad like my Mom and Dad. He did
not have time or the strength to give me the quality time, that the
women talk about these days. They had to give one hundred percent of
their time trying to put food into our mouths.
My dad loved my mother. He tod Papa that he would die and go to hell
before he would hit mother. Dad was an orphan, He stayed wherever
someone would let him. His dad was murdered in cold blood. The jury
let the murderer go free. The next year his mother fell dead on his
dad's grave. There have been murderers go free for years, Dad packed
a gun for a while to get the man that killed his dad. Dad met Jesus
about that time and it wasn't long and he put his gun down. He carried
the hurt in his heart for the rest of his life. Dad was in Heaven
forty years before Mother joined him. Saved? Yes. He that believeth
that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. He was different than other
men in that I knew in my early life and later too. He did not go around
saying, son, I love you. A man only told a woman that he loved her.
Love was special then. When I was sick, in the dark of the night, I would
feel his rough hands on my forehead seeing if I had a fever. He had lost
on son and I knew he cared. I was rich even in the great depression. In
nineteen hundred and twenty two, I came into the world. I started the
family that he never really had before, His mom and dad were gone, My mom
and dad are gone now, My wife is gone now, I probably would not be writing
this now if Elaine was still here because we were always so busy.
Just think all of them are with our Lord. Elaine made forty eight years
happy beyond my wildest dreams. I would go any where in the world as long
as I could get home for supper. The hello, I am in the kitchen was the voice
of happiness. I'll love her through eternity. If I am allowed to do that.
My mind tries to go ahead of the typing. If it is love that shapes a man in
his life, then I should be the best mentally balanced man in the land. Don't
get me wrong, I had my share of switching growing up but never a beating.
Was always with a switch like the Bible says. It helped me to take the right
turn in life. I am a sinner saved by grace and the road that they pointed me
in has been mostly always love for me. When years ago it was popular to call
boys old ugly boy, it hurt. I don't care if you had big blue eyes, fair
complexion and thick black hair, you got the treatment sometimes. Words can
hurt a sensitive spirit. Perhaps that is why the Bible says, "let your
conversation be yes or no.
I FOUND THIS YESTERDAY IN SOME OF MY DAD'S WRITINGS. I CAN ONLY REMEMBER SMALL
PARTS OF THIS STORY. HOPE YOU ALL HAVE ENJOYED A TIME IN THE PAST OF MY DAD'S
ERNEST ALBERT BOWMAN 1922-2000
A GLIMPSE OF DAD'S YOUTH