“Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.”
~ Tim Ferriss
Last Friday was very busy. In between all the running we had a wonderful surprise visit from Jeff and Cheryl Farmer. Jeff is the pastor at mom and dad’s church (Mamaw’s church) in West Liberty. They were in town for an appointment and made a point of coming to see mom since she was a recent escapee from rehab. Jeff was the poor person who had to call me when mom had her accident. He was very gentle in breaking the news, and that’s because he’s a very gentle man. He’s soft spoken with loads of smiles, and he’s always positive, which I really appreciate. He’s also a drummer, so naturally, we get along very well. He has been so good with mom and dad. He’s active in their lives, with many of his parishioners in fact, and that has made a huge difference to all three of us. He’s a really good man and I’m grateful for his kindness and good humor.
“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” ~ Peter F. Drucker
Not only did I cook a pot of soup beans for mom’s arrival (something I hadn’t done for well over a decade), I also baked a cake. I hadn’t done that in probably 30 years. Mom gave me a great secret ingredient, and boy was she right about it. It made the most moist, delicious cake I’ve ever eaten. I have a hard time believing I actually made it. She called it her “Welcome Home” cake. Look how happy she is with that big hunk of chocolate. I think she was happy to be home.
“It’s up to you to find beauty in the ugliest days.” ~ Unknown
It’s mom’s last night at Cardinal Hill. Dad spent the afternoon with her. I said I’d pick him up at dark. I peeped in the window and this was what I found. He’d slept most of the afternoon. When we got to the car I remarked that this had been a long journey. He replied, “Remind me never to break my hip.” He cracks me up. I’m pretty sure mom would agree, with me and with him. Here’s to healing.
“Optimism: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster; it’s more like a cha-cha.” ~ Unknown
He virtually ran to her bedside, kissed her, then grabbed her hand and would not let go. I brought him a chair, and in a few minutes, this was what I saw. Both of them were sound asleep, and they stayed that way until Uncle Darrell arrived to make them laugh the afternoon away. Not everyone marries their soul mate, but when they do, this is what it looks like.
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” ~ William Arthur Ward
Our Shero had an exhausting day, but she came through the long, hard surgery with a brand new hip, and she’s now a little bit taller (seriously! the old hip had made her leg shorter than in should have been). As fate would have it, she had the state’s top Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Silby (apparently he replaced Coach Cal’s knee, and that’s made him famous, at least in Kentucky). His team was equally incredible. I watched the pre-op team work diligently to ensure everything was as mistake-free and perfect for mom’s myriad conditions as humanly possible. I really cannot say enough wonderful things about the employees at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Even the shuttle drivers are kind. Dad and I got through the day with the help of some very special people. Aunt Lois was so kind to join us, and stay for the duration (this would be even worse than it is were it not for her). Mom and dad’s pastor, Jeff Farmer, drove all the way from West Liberty to be with us. He’d accepted the horrible job of calling me about the accident on Monday, but his soft spoken approach was the perfect delivery. Like Lois, he was/is a calming force. Cousin Renee Watkins, Crystal Heis (fast becoming an honorary Terry), and Judy Sackett all paid us a visit during the near-three hour surgery. Meanwhile, Stacy looked after the dogs and got the mail. Uncle Phillip and Aunt Linda are looking after mom and dad’s house. So many people from all over the country, some we haven’t even met in person, texted or called or sent well wishes and prayers in some form or fashion that it was hard to not be hopeful. As for our Shero, she’s not out of the woods yet. The surgery is just the first hurdle, unfortunately. The next couple of days will be critical, but I am confident that UK’s team, who are growing to love her as much as we do, will do everything in their power to pull her through. Light and love to all of you who are taking this journey with me, and thank you for your kindness to my folks and I. It has not gone unnoticed.
“Make the most out of your day. It will never happen again.” ~ Sylvia Walters
I took our Hero to see our Shero this evening. He’s the only thing she smiles for. The rest of the time she’s in excruciating pain and nervous about her surgery, which was postponed until tomorrow when all the reconstruction surgeons can be on hand. Keep those good thoughts and prayers coming her way. Hopefully she’ll have some relief after they’ve fixed that leg, and she can get back on her feet. She’s sure a tough ‘ol gal. That’s why she’s our shero.
“One day I just woke up and realized that I can’t touch yesterday.
So why the heck was I letting it touch me?” ~ Steve Maraboli
I mentioned earlier this week that being part of the wedding gave me a unique position for photographs. I used that advantage particularly at the end of the ceremony. The last folks to leave the hay field ceremony was Tony’s eldest daughter Jennifer – whom I absolutely adore, her husband Jon – a brilliant photographer, and their nephew, Tony’s eldest grandson and ring bearer, John Anthony. Tony has been an ardent DAV member for forever it seems, so it was touching that the Morgan County DAV Chapter lined the aisle, as it were, for the wedding party exit. Mom brought DAV uniform hats so she and dad could join in. It was a nice way to end a ceremony packed with symbolism. But what I really loved about it was the beauty of Jon and Jennifer walking John Anthony to the shade. Or maybe he was walking them. The unity of family is the most inestimable symbol of all.
“Do not get upset with people or situations. Both are powerless without your reaction.”
~ Buddhist teaching
I rarely capture an image that I love, but this image is one of those rare exceptions. The path leading to the Adam Terry cemetery goes on up the mountain alongside the narrow hollow stream. At first I thought it was an old logging road since all the mountains in Eastern Kentucky, save for the Lilley Cornett Woods, have many times over been logged. And that may still be true, but I realized that the light leading the way through the trail led to an opening. Maps confirm that indeed it does. It opens to an enormous strip mine that has flattened the ridge above Ball Creek and the cemetery.
This part of the Eastern Kentucky landscape has been radically altered by strip mines and highways. When I was a little girl, almost 50 years ago now, the family made a trek to Ball Creek. It was still pristine back then. You could only drive the road up the creek so far before you had to drive in the creek, and then eventually, take a footpath to the head of the hollow where the Terry homestead used to sit. I think that part of the hollow is now Highway 80, filled in, the waterway changed accordingly and shown on the map as Big Branch. (Terry Branch of Ball Creek is closer to Soft Shell, a ways from the cemetery). Bad Ad owned the whole mountain I’m told. His oldest son, my grandfather, would have known all the details, and on this Father’s Day, I wish he was here to ask.
If I’m not mistaken, Adam and Lettie Terry’s graves were relocated when Highway 80 was built, hence their close proximity to it now. As much as I like the faster transportation through the mountains, I hate the thought of how much progress has changed family history. In fact, dad said time and again yesterday how he could have never imagined such a road through the mountains. I’m thankful for the easy travel, but I am especially grateful that I saw the mountains as God made them all those years ago (well, closer to the way God made them than they are now). They are part of me through and through. You can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can never take the mountains out of the girl. Not this girl anyway.
“Where there is great love, there are always wishes.” ~ Willa Cather
I got to spend another Father’s Day with this guy, the best dad I could ever wish for. We grabbed mom and off we went for another Eastern Kentucky adventure. After pigging out on excellent BBQ ribs at Prestonsburg’s Pig in a Poke, we went in search of Adam Terry’s grave. Known to many in Knott and Perry counties as “Bad Ad”, Adam was dad’s grandfather. When he wasn’t farming, or drinking, he made a living protecting moonshiners particularly during prohibition. According to family lore, he had over 20 stills in his care at one time. He killed an estimated 9-15 men. Four revenuers came up Ball Creek (it follows highway 1087/ Vest Talcum Road). They never left and were never found thanks to Bad Ad. They say he was so mean the preacher refused to bury him in the family plot at Ary where his first wife, my biological great-grandmother Elizabeth Jones, is buried. Instead, he was buried on his farm on Ball Creek with his second wife, Lettie Creech. Today, the cemetery sits beside Highway 80 near the Knott/Perry County line (it’s actually in Knott County). Dad and I tried to find it last year, but the trees had grown so much that we drove right past it, and we would have done it again if not for mom’s eagle eye. Some of dad’s cousins are now buried alongside Bad Ad. Even though the cemetery sits just off the road, the trees have provided a decent barrier, making it a quiet, beautiful spot. I love my Father’s Day adventures with dad. Today did not disappoint.