I was thinking about my great-grandparents the other day. I never knew any of them. In fact I only knew my grandmother, my father’s mother. All the rest had died when I was born. My parents of course had told me about their parents and my dad had told me about my great grandparents.
I am from Georgetown, although my parents moved from here to Greenville when I was four. I visited my grandmother and cousins almost every summer growing up and learned even more about my family’s roots. I learned particularly about my great-grandfather, Purifoy Davis. That was my father’s mother’s dad. He was a skilled carpenter. Everyone that lives in Georgetown has seen his handiwork. He made the large columns on the front of the Winyah auditorium. My dad had told me that and even showed me the swamp where his grandfather cut down the large cypress trees he used for the lumber to make the columns. They had grown on the land owned by the family out of Sampit. He built those columns for the Winyah High School Auditorium around 1906.
My great-grandfather was born in 1861 and passed away sometime in the 1920’s. His father was a Cherokee Indian and fought with the Confederates in the Civil War. His name was Pure Eye. He was killed in the war in 1864. Before my great-grandfather was 5 or 6 years old, his mother passed away too. They were living in Wallace, NC. He was adopted by the Davis family. He grew up, married and had three daughters. When his wife died he left everything in Wallace and moved with his daughters to Georgetown. His daughter Lanie married my grandfather Levy Morris and they had three children, Stephen, Leroy and Lila May. Stephen was my father.
It is amazing how looking back into family history can make you think about things a little differently than maybe you would think otherwise. Knowing for example some of those things about my great-grandfather’s early life made me realize that the “old man Purifoy Davis” was once a child too. Don’t get me wrong, we know of course that they were young once, but we tend to look at “old people” today and only see “old people”. We have to dig deeper to see and understand that maybe they are who they are today because of who they were years ago. I always only saw my grandmother as an old person. She was and that was all I had ever seen and how I had known her. But she, too, had been young once.
Now today, my wife and I have 12 grandchildren and I’m sure that they look at their grandparents as old people. Clarification is needed here, my wife and I are not old people, at least we don’t see ourselves that way! I know, I know we aren’t looking through the eyes of our grandchildren. But I came to realize Monday a week ago that maybe it’s not just our grandchildren that see us as old. Our very own children have changed their perception of us too.
On that Monday morning a week ago, with all that was going on and still is in the world with the COVID-19 scare, I told my wife that she and I were going to self quarantine ourselves for two weeks until the end of March. That afternoon President Trump was on TV with a special announcement asking the American people to do just exactly that. I had already told our children that we were self quarantining ourselves for 2 weeks. They were happy we decided to do that.
Then it began, old people vs. young people… I remembered we needed about five items from Wal-Mart, so off I went to get them. Afterwards we were texting with our children and I happened to mention that I had needed to go to Wal-Mart for a few items. You would have thought I had announced the world just ended.
Stephanne Daughter 1: You what? You just said you were staying home and now in less than 12 hours you have gone out! Dad! Stay home!!!! I’m going to come and weld your doors shut!
Courtnee Daughter 3: I’ll use a broom pole through the window!
Daughter 1: To poke him????
Daughter 3: No to bonk him in the head!
Me: Last minute items were discovered to be needed. We are done now.
Keely Daughter 2: If we knock him out he won’t go out.
Daughter 3: Yeah, so you say. I dare you to step one foot out tomorrow. I hope you drank tons of water and washed your hands and took a shower.
Daughter 1: I just rolled my eyes so hard they are literally stuck in the back of my head Dad!!! Stay. In. Your yard. Do not go to a public places!!!!
Daughter 3: Good gravy!
Daughter 1: For real. I need a Xanax just to deal with this new knowledge.
Daughter 1: Stay home Dad. Not even joking. Don’t make me come down there!
Kay my wife: We promise to be good!
Daughter 1: I’m not worried about you Kay. It’s renegade rebel C. Bradley.
Daughter 1: You, C. Bradley, are grounded. You are under house arrest. Don’t try me. You’ve got my blood pressure sky high.
Daugter 1: There’s a whole passage in the Bible about leading others into temptation. STAY HOME!!!!
So dear readers all in an afternoon, my wife and I have transformed from parents who care for and love our children and grandchildren to the “old folks,” errr, “old kids” that our new self proclaimed parents (formerly children) are caring for and loving. Their “children” formerly their “parents” are now being watched over, cared for and whipped into obedience, particularly while this “crisis” endures. I love being loved!
On a more serious note, I encourage all of my readers to take extra care during this special time we are going through. Stay away from crowds, maintain good hand washing habits with soap and water and just stay home. But don’t tell your children.... They just may be as loving as mine are and put locks on your doors to keep you in!
Pray for yourselves and your family and for all the rest of the people out there. Our God can and will bring us all through all this trying time.
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at email@example.com. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 13 of which have been for the Times.