My Heritage

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth.
  Psalm 127:3-5

My Father came from a family of twelve active and busy children; and Mom was reared under gentle, yet firm-hands guiding eleven inquisitive kids!   (Daddy always jokes they had 2-umpires, nine-baseball players, (all boys) and 3-cheer-leaders.)

Grandpa Lewis and his nine boys performed their daily chores and labored every day into evening on their large dairy cattle farm.  Besides their massive herd of cattle, they raised many pigs, sheep, chickens, and maintained an abundant and fruitful garden.

My Grandpa Lewis left this earth before I was born.  Stories I have heard of my  G’ pa Lewis was that he was a very hard-worker, devoted to providing for his wife and twelve kids, and a very passionate man.

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However, I clearly remember spending many fun-filled days and over-night stays with my Grandma, Mary Jane.  Grandma valued church and sought to instill those Christian morals in her thirty-six grandchildren.  She used to walk around in her home humming and singing the old-fashioned hymns that are beloved by so many.

Dad’s mom ‘welcomed’ many folks to her table to share her mouth-watering home-cooking.  (back then, men that were transient workers offered their skills to make ‘repairs’ or finish some small ‘fix-it’ jobs.)  Most likely, these men would inquire of the locals as to “where they might get a good meal?”  Well, Grandma’s warm hospitality would answer their hungry call!

As for Mom, her Dad, my Grandpa Harry always put-out the largest garden that I have seen to this day.   (remember, Grandpa and Grandma had eleven kids to feed.)  

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  Isaiah 40:8

I recall that as soon as the onions were picked, Grandpa was replanting that area with some kind of brilliant annual flowers.   The once empty rows or ‘hills’ were replanted with some colorful annual flower.  Thus, G’ pa’s signature gardens always remained a dazzling montage of vibrant hues well into the fall.

(I remember once when I was a teenager, I asked my Grandma, “why did you have so many children?”  Her blushed, red-face, sheepish reply was, “well, Harry couldn’t help it!”   Just from the extreme RED of her face, I figured that I best not ask any further curious questions.)

Mom’s parents, became my Mom and Dad’s built-in baby-sitters.  Mom worked as an RN in pediatric nursing helping to deliver babies.  (since Mom’s mother, Virginia had raised her own eleven, I figure it was pretty-much a ‘no-brainer’ that Grandma could care for us four until Mom’s shift would mature.)

May I share this indelible, memory of my Grandpa Harry?  When one of us kids got into something, or did something ‘unapproved,’ we found ourselves beholding to G ’pa.

He used a bit of psychology in having the ‘culprit’ kid climb up one of his willows or maple trees to get a specific branch he spotted  so he could ‘whittle’ the branch into the shape of a ‘whip.’  Then, he could  inflict  his corporal punishment.   (Grandpa Harry was often seen sitting on his front-porch whittling the time away.)   (it must have been some sort of quiet therapy?!)

Anyway, we followed his grim command and came back to him meekly crying.  (just getting that branch was ALL the ‘punishment’ we needed!)  He never had to touch us – just the idea was torment enough!  Grandpa only held an eight-grade diploma.  But his wisdom was well-beyond any college degree.

And as Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

Growing In Christ,

Jen

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