The Clay Pipe

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Our Family

For Christmas 2006 I received a unique gift from my mom. But then, I always get very cool unique gifts from my mom… she constantly goes out of her way to come up with these really neat things for each of her 5 kids and their families.

I remember the first “really unique” gift my mom gave me, which blew me away… it was Christmas 1991… that Christmas Eve I sat, patiently with a rather bulky gift on my lap awaiting my turn at opening… for some reason I thought it was sheets… I must have asked for sheets that year… but it was not sheets, nor anything else so mundane and every day… it was an ancestor photograph album… she’d made a very special quilted binding with my picture on the cover… it had names and dates of everyone’s pictures of great-grandparents on down, she included a family tree chart going back to a my 4th Great-Grandfather Clark CLAWSON (1807-1881) and his wife Hestor HALE (1818 – 1887)… through me (then 39)… including a ton of pictures of when I was a baby, young girl, teen, on to my own children… I felt like my mom gave me… “me”, that year… she gave me back my childhood… since then, year after year my mom continues to give me family treasures, revealing more and more of who I am, and how much I owe those who’ve walked before me… WOW!

Returning to Christmas 2006… a thin spiral bound notebook… a story… she transcribed hand-written papers she’d found in my grandmother’s things in 1987 after she passed away. My mom typed it and bound it with great love… “Created especially for my beloved daughter” (that’d be me :D ) … it was written by my grandmother sometime before 1955….

The Clay Pipe by Pearl DeGarmo

One day several weeks ago my husbands’ mother showed me a quaint, little brown clay pipe. This pipe looked very much as if it might have been originally intended to blow soap bubbles… and then she told me the story of the pipe.

But wait a moment! Please allow me to introduce my mother-in-law, Jennie Clarinda Brown, and she will tell you the story, for she knows it far better than I. And so she begins…

Over one hundred years ago my great-grandparents were living in Ohio. Many of the women smoked pipes in those days. The pioneers grew and cured their own tobacco and the business of using the finished product was a family affair.

One day when great-grandfather went to the country store to do his “trading” he bought two new clay pipes. One of these was for his wife and the other one for his daughter.

We can envy great-grandmother’s and her daughter’s companionship. Just how many hopes and thoughts they must have confided to each other in the twilight after their day’s work was done, we can only guess at. But time, sometimes a cruel wrecker of these fine camaraderie’s wrought a change in this one.

The daughter and a neighbor had fallen in love and in due time were married. Now these newly weds were not content to buy the adjoining farm and set up housekeeping. They had both inherited too much of the pioneer restlessness. Their idea of greener fields lie farther west than Ohio. They listened to tales told by traders and trappers and other folks that traveled about the country. They finally decided to go to what is now the southern part of Wisconsin.

Grandfather bought a team of horses and a wagon. He then proceeded to build a covering for the wagon and collecting the tools he would need in the new home. Grandmother was busy too, gathering seeds and all the articles that she could take with her. They could only take the most necessary tools and equipment. There were no stores, lumber yards, seed companies or factories in those days. And they could only take what could be moved in the covered wagon, so these articles were chosen with careful consideration.

The day finally came when the bride and groom were ready to leave their families and relatives and start for their new home. Now great-grandfather and great-grandmother realized that this may be the last time they would ever see their daughter again. In those days a trip from one state to another was a long tedious journey and was not undertaken very often. So on the morning of the young couple’s departure the old father and mother decided to travel with the young people until noon, in order that they might be with the daughter and her husband as long as possible.

At noon they found a nice place to stop and eat their dinner and to rest and chat awhile. After they had eaten their dinner and replaced the dishes and remaining food the little group sat down to smoke and visit. Great-grandmother drew her pipe and tobacco pouch from her apron pocket and proceeded to light up. Great-grandfather and grandfather did likewise. But when grandmother put her hand in her pocket she found only her tobacco pouch. The young woman looked in the wagon and about the the camp grounds but could not find her pipe. All at once she remembered that she had left it on the window sill at her parent’s home. Great-grandmother smoked her pipe then passed her pipe to her daughter to use.

Now the old mother was a happy good-natured old soul and almost always could find a bright side to every little annoyance. So she gaily remarked that her daughter could have her pipe and she would keep her daughter’s pipe. Then each would have something of the others’.

When grandmother finished smoking she carefully knocked the ashes from it and put it in her deep apron pocket. The cheap little clay pipe was now very valuable because it had been her mother’s.

The farewells were finally said and the old people started to walk back to their home. The young couple continued their journey to Wisconsin. After many weeks of travel and hardships which only these strong courageous pioneers could endure they reached their destination.

In the years that followed grandmother and grandfather built their home and reared a fine family of sons and daughters. These sons and daughters married and had families of their own.

When grandmother and grandfather died their possessions were divided among the remaining members. The clay pipe was given to my mother and when she died my sister gave it to me.

And this my friends is the true, true story of a little old brown clay pipe, just as my mother-in-law told it to me.

The Clay Pipe

The Clay Pipe

Back to the present… 2009…

When Mom talked about this story she’d found with her brother (my uncle), he rummaged in a drawer and pulled out the pipe… it’s a true story…. it’s never been published… but in honor of my mom and her mom and the women before them and for my sisters and my daughter… for all of them …. I publish it here for the first time.

Thanks Mom! I love you too!

  • The authoress Pearl Batten was my grandmother.
  • Her mother-in-law – Jennie Clarinda BROWN (1876 – 1959) [my great-grandmother]
  • Daughter / Bride – Elanor DUSENBERRY (1827 – 1865) [my 3rd great-grandmother]
  • Neighbor / Groom – Philip AUMOCK (1827 – 1909) [my 3rd great-grandfather]
  • Great-grandfather – Benjamin DUSENBERRY (1789 – 1867) [my 4th great-grandfather]
  • Great-grandmother – Charlotte DENNIS (1806 – 1890) [my 4th great-grandmother]

All things through Him who strengthens!

June 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Jennifer & Chris

I was going to save this discussion for tomorrow or early next week… but it’s laying on my mind and heart… so… no time like the present…

Our Lord God is INCREDIBLE! He’s got the whole world in His hands! He never leaves us nor forsakes us! He knows the plans He has towards us for good and not for evil! I Corinthians 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

God does hear us! He does answer us! Even though we only see a tiny, little, teeny bit of “it”… even though we can’t always hear (or like) His answers… my God started answering today’s prayers several months ago…

I love our Lord! He’s awesome. To those of you who do not believe, who do not have the hope that I do… I am truly sorry…

This morning, I was very, very worried about Chris and Jennifer… as you can perhaps tell from my previous blog… even though we’ve had additional difficult news… I still know who’s in control… Jesus… who loves us beyond everything… Jesus!

Chris & Jennifer were long haul truck drivers, living in the cab of their truck for the most part… when they had an accident in Murray, Kentucky… I am here to tell you there are NO accidents in life (nor luck, nor fate)… but there is God.. my Lord took my son and his wife to a truly wonderful small American town, where the First Baptist Church of Murray has a heart as big as “all outdoors”.

They’ve taken care of the kid’s transportation problems for Jennifer’s treatment, and they have a Family Crisis Fund which is helping with their bills. But they have a lot more than that…

They have a light that they let shine for two young people, in a strange town, where they didn’t know anyone… and gave them so much love, that Chris and Jennifer didn’t want to “move on”… they found a community that made them very, very welcome and gave them love and made them feel like family.

John 13:35 says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

That’s what the folks in Murray, Kentucky do… they have love one for another… even if you didn’t grow up there, even if you hadn’t been there more than a few days…. they simply love, because our Lord has shown them how.

With a world that’s all messed up… people starving… being beaten, robbed, murdered, raped… a billion different horrible diseases… the  folks of Murray, Kentucky… just made Chris and Jennifer feel at home… because… they know the love of the Lord, and have let His light so shine in them…

… Today, I am one mother who can rest easy, knowing my children, so far away, going through such a devastatingly difficult time, are well loved and cared for… they aren’t alone.

One of the most difficult things for a mother to accept is that she can’t fix some particular hurt or wrong in her children’s lives… my mother’s like that… at 77 she still wants (and succeeds) to help her kids and grandkids get through the tough spots… she’d like to “fix” it for them, and often can’t… I’m just learning this truth… and while earthly mothers can’t fix everything …. our Lord can.

He looked down the road of Chris and Jennifer’s life and knew exactly where they needed to be when really tough times were to hit, who they needed to be with… and for whatever His reasons are… (His mind is so far above ours)… He knows exactly what’s best for every single person touched by these life events.

Chris, just called and the “things” on Jennifer’s liver are indeed cancer. It’s spread. She been upgraded to stage 4.

I praise my Lord for the good folks in Murray, Kentucky and the Church family of the First Baptist Church there. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping my kids. Thank you for the love you’ve given them. Thank you! The Lord has used you to answer the prayers I have today for my kids.

Need more prayers please…

June 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Jennifer & Chris

Jennifer went back in the hospital on Thursday to start her first round of chemo… she’s had a lot of problems this last week, instead of the pain from the massive surgery (which she had a couple of weeks ago) improving it’s been getting worse, nearly every day she’s been in the ER… so the 1st thing the folks at the Brown James Graham Cancer Center did was some imaging to determine the cause of her pain… they needed to do this before starting chemo… they found some spots on her liver… at this point we don’t know what they are… so please, please pray they are cysts and not the spread of cancer.

NEED grows: Chris and Jennifer still have bills, mounting daily (no health insurance), and a significant loss of income… please if you’re healthy, have a wonderful home, nice cars… first Thank God! and then please look in your heart and see if you can help these two young people… we’re helping financially as much as we can… this is so much more important than any future need of ours… this is here and now… this is life and death… I have absolutely no problems compared to what these two young people are facing and dealing with right now… but our savings alone are not going to get them through this… I know I don’t need to worry, just as God knows my name and address… He knows theirs too… but won’t you please ask your God if He can use you to help them?

Transportation every week back and forth to Louisville, KY remains another huge need. Without a car… things can be tough… thankfully Church family members got them to the hospital on Thursday… but they’ll need a ride back home in a couple of days… we’re unsure right now exactly when… the liver issue has to be addressed before they can start chemo.

Whether or not you can help physically… thank you for your consideration and your prayers… really :D… I know God is hearing their names from a thousand lips, thank you!…. and to all of you who’ve contributed time, transportation, support, love, as well as daily food supplies and prayers… may Our Lord bless you richly and return to you 1000 fold what you’ve given to two of His kids!

Jennifer knows that the aggressive chemo she’ll be having is going to cause all her hair to fall out… this week… what young lady wants to be bald? Not being the victim type… nope, not our Jennifer… she shaved it off… all of it… way to go girl!

Chris being the loving supportive husband that he is… shaved his off too… here are some pics…

Chris & Jennifer before shaving

Chris & Jennifer before shaving

Jennifer sans hair

Jennifer sans hair

Together... look Ma no hair

Together... look Ma no hair

The ACS (American Cancer Society) has provided some hair for Jennifer, and Gordon and I found some too… shhhh… it’s a surprise… well, she doesn’t know for sure WHICH one I picked out. She sent an email last night that said, she actually thinks the hair issue will be fun… again… GREAT attitude Honey!

Sense of humor…

June 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Our Family

I just love to laugh…  but I get even more enjoyment out of making my husband chuckle… and the look of surprised delight he gets upon “getting it” makes my day… one of my requests of God was a husband with a great sense of humor… and mine certainly does have that… when we met he had me laughing all day one day… that was THE defining moment for me… I knew right then I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him…

My kids all have a great sense of humor… I love it when the boys (ah-hem… excuse me…. “the men”?) get together and they start playing off each other… floors me every time…

Yep… this one is one of mine :) I totally love my family! I’m blessed!

My son Mike and his sense of ...

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