“But since Mari and I were able to visit with so many friends and family; enjoy the delicious catfish and barbecue meal; listen to live gospel music; participate in a fundraiser auction; and take photos of the church, my birthplace, and the Mount Tabor church and cemetery, it was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime, ‘bucket-list’ opportunity to ‘renew old memories.’”
—Jimmy Peacock, “My ‘Bucket-List’ Trip,”
May 25, 2011
As noted in the opening quotation above, the month of May marked the third anniversary of a “Bucket-List” Trip that Mari and I made in May of 2011 to my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas.
The purpose of the trip was to attend the reunion/fundraiser for the restoration and preservation of the historic Selma Methodist Church, right across the “branch” from the farmhouse in which I was born in November of 1938.
To read about that visit and the event that motivated it, click on the title of the blog post (the second on my new post), dated May 25, 2011: “My ‘Bucket-List’ Trip: Part One: The Selma Methodist Church.”
A year after that trip on May 23, 2012, I published an update on the progress of the restoration of the church. To read that update post, click on its title: “Moments to Remember/Selma Methodist Church Update.”
Recently I received some photos and information about the church restoration from Scott Shepard who noted that “it was Scotty Howard with Elite Homes (email@example.com, 501-690-6095) who returned the church to the beautiful shape we see today.” He also noted that
“The descendants of the John Barrett family (Idelle and Lucile’s children) had the doors replicated and made by John Alexander of Ozone, Arkansas.”
To learn more about the Selma Methodist Church, contact Dorris Watson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Father’s Death
“Any man who’s gotta consult his wife about his bizness
ain’t got no bizness bein’ in bizness.”
“You jus’ gotta take a deep seat in th’ saddle,
lock your spurs, and ride it out!”
—Arthur Peacock quotes on taking care of business,
and getting through difficult situations
On July 6, 2011, almost three years ago, I published a post titled “My Father’s Brand and [Corporate] Seal.” (To read that post with my poem about my father’s branding iron and the corporate seal of his livestock business, click on the title.)
In that post I recalled my father’s sudden death of a heart attack at the McGehee Livestock Auction in which he was a co-partner with auctioneer C.B. Walker. I noted that at the time of his death Daddy was forty-nine years old and I was fifteen and in the back of the barn penning cattle.
I now tell Okies: “I started out life as a cowboy in Arkansas and came to Oklahoma as a French translator. Go figure.”
Since my father died on May 25, 1954, it has been exactly sixty years since his death. This portion of this post, like the previous post in July 2011, serves as a remembrance of and a tribute to him and his life as a livestock dealer and a family man.
I hope he would be pleased with it and not tell me, “Son, I think you need to go back an’ lick your calf over agin.”
Our Younger Grandson’s Birthday
“You can take away my church but you can’t take away my God!”
—Ben Peacock’s response to his mother’s threat to punish him
by taking away his church’s youth night activities
As evident by the quote above, our younger grandson Ben has a sharp mind and a quick wit. He is also a sharp and quick learner in school. His report on the life and discoveries of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is the second most popular post of the 113 that I have published on my blog. (To read “Ben’s Report on Hernando de Soto,” published on October 3, 2012, click on the title.)
Born in Tulsa on May 31, 2002, Ben turned twelve years old this past month. In addition to his sharp mind and quick wit, he is also adept at mastering all the latest electronic gadgets that interest so many youngsters these days. In fact, whenever his grandmother and I have any kind of computer problem, before calling our computer geek in Tulsa we always say, “Let’s ask Ben what to do to fix it!”
Ben also loves board games and puzzles, and shines in arts and crafts, making full use of his nimble fingers and active imagination to create all kinds of interesting and useful objects from yarn, rubber bands, paper, small pieces of metal, and other ordinary household items. He has made us all colorful and attractive items such as bracelets, necklaces, potholders, coasters, artistic robotic mantelpieces, pencil and pen holders, etc.
As further evidence of Ben’s creativity, as a young child he taught himself to make Power Point presentations and composed one for each member of the family on their favorite subjects. For example, his brother Levi’s was on hunting; his father’s was on the military; his grandmother’s was on pink flowers (her signature color); and mine was on (what else?) Elizabeth Taylor! (See my earlier blog post titled “My Lifelong Attraction to Black Beauty.”)
And what was the subject of Ben’s own Power Point? It was about what he used to call when he was a youngster “putty gulls,” with his favorite being Marilyn Monroe. Hmmm. I wonder where he got that boyish fascination with pretty girls?
But his interests and skills are not limited to academics, electronics, games of skill, arts and crafts, and Power Point presentations. He also enjoys biking and skateboarding, as well as hunting and fishing with his father and brother, and recently killed his first deer. In addition, he enjoys the indoor activities of his church’s youth program and the outdoor activities of an annual summer camp for the offspring of military personnel, especially archery, rappelling, and balloon water fights with other campers.
Ben is also a star player on local basketball and soccer teams. Although small in size and short in height, he is so fast and energetic that he always manages to match the skills of older, bigger, and taller kids his age.
So as seems evident in this post dedicated to Ben’s twelfth birthday, we are proud of the gifts, talents, activities, and creative works of our young Thomas Benjamin Peacock, a name he inherited from his great-grandfather.
Happy Birthday, Ben! And don’t let anyone take away your God who gave you all those marvelous gifts and talents!
My Family’s Move to Oklahoma in May 1977
“I moved to Babylon (Oklahoma) from the Holy Land (Arkansas) in 1977 (“the year that King Elvis died,” see Isaiah 6:1) to take a much-needed job in religious publication. If ever a man put his hand to the plow looking back, it is me. I only miss home two times—night and day!”
In several different previous posts I have written or quoted sayings of mine about what I have called in biblical terms “My Oklahomian Exile Literature by an Exiled Arkie of the Covenant.”
One of the most prominent and descriptive of these exile sayings is the one above about my moving from my beloved Holy Land (Arkansas) to Babylon (Oklahoma) in 1977. (See for example the earlier post titled “Occupation in Exile, Deliverance in Time” on this very subject.)
However, the fact is that since my wife was teaching elementary school and our two sons were attending that same school in our hometown of McGehee, Arkansas, when I was offered the job of a French-English translator in Oklahoma, I had to leave my family behind and move to Tulsa all alone in February of that year.
In keeping with the title of this post about “Other Month of May Updates,” I did not move my family up to join me in Tulsa until school was out in McGehee on Memorial Day 1977: thirty-seven years ago this past Memorial Day weekend.
That involuntary move—and my more than three decades-long unsuccessful attempt to “go home again”—have been the inspiration and impetus for all of the writings in this blog. As I so often quote myself: “I had been writing for twenty-five years before I realized that the theme of all of my writing is . . . loss!”
And the crux of that loss has been the loss of home, which I call “the most beautiful word in the English language.”
Thus, each year I commemorate that fateful day in May so long ago when I moved my family from my beloved and sorely missed home state of Arkansas to join me in my ongoing and seemingly unending “Oklahomian Exile.”