"A Tribute to Family"
60 yrs 92 yrs
Granny Beasley had eleven children, one of which was severely handicapped. Granny took care of Little Bill at home until he got to be too strong for her to physically handle. They regretfully placed in an institution. I can remember her crying half way back home after visiting him. She did her very best to care for him and never stopped trying until she finally had him relocated to a nursing home closer to her until he passed away. She always felt bad about Little Bill's situation, but I know God was proud of her for her devotion to one of his special children.
Granny made her mark on everyone in the family with one simple little phrase, "Who's that-a-comin'?". When someone visited our home, she would meet them at the door with a smile and a "Who's that-a-comin'?". I'm sure that everyone in the family that knew Granny Beasley has stepped to their own door at home and said those simple words that mean so much to us all.
1939 1964 1959 1969
Grandpa P.O. worked every day from sunrise til 5:00pm, because that is when the box plant whistle blew and the
Little Rascals came on channel 6 out of Paducah Kentucky. Saturday he worked half a day and was usually
"under the influence" by 2:00pm. Sunday morning he was up at the same time as he was everyday, around 5:30am,
however, his sole purpose in life was to get the "kids" to come to Sunday dinner. He had Granny cooking by 6:30 and
me on the telephone trying to convince them they should come and eat with us. I do not remember to this day if
we were ever turned down. Granny cooked enough for a small army and Aunt Peg, Aunt Jewell, Aunt Deaner, Aunt Jean, and
Aunt Pauline came with arms loaded with food. Sometimes we would have a treat and Uncle Leon and Aunt Leona
would come to spend the day. On a typical Sunday, in and around this small farmhouse in Southeast Missouri
you could count somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 people, and on Holidays or days when my Uncle Smokey
would come home from the service, that little house would swell to busting.
Me and Grandpa P.O. horsing around while Granny watches
He made his sons work in the fields with him as they were growing up to help feed the family, but by the time I came along his attitude had changed a little. His sons weren't allowed to play ball because they had to chop or pick cotton. He let me play ball and work in the field after practice. I told my uncles, "The man that raised you is not the same man that raised me". Because farming is such a hit and miss business, Grandpa P.O. was also a master handyman. He would build porches, add rooms, and do some roofing to supplement his farming income. When I got old enough to help, I found myself on the rooftops of most houses in Gideon Missouri. Then after a while he would get the jobs started and I would finish them. It was his way of teaching me a trade and getting me spending money that he didn't really have.
I can't talk about Grandpa P.O. without talking about pocket knives. For some unknown reason to me, his generation was fascinated with pocket knives. You had to have at least one in your pocket to trade. Plus one that was razor sharp. He would sit with "his generation" on the benches in front of Gibb's tavern and the Commercial bank of Gideon every Saturday afternoon and see who could get their knife the sharpest. Most of them had no hair on their arms from demonstrating how sharp their knives were. My generation called in "spit and whittle corner". Funny how each generation passes the time.
Saturdays, Grandpa P.O. would come in at noon from the field and change from dirty overalls to clean overalls, than come out on the front porch where I had the water, soap and razor ready. I would shave him and he would give me fifty cents spending money. That got me into the Malden theater to see a double feature, popcorn and a soda. (Try that now). I still have and use the shaving mug. I suppose it is my way of hanging on to a little piece of him. My cousin Danny is the lucky one, he got Grandpa P.O.'s last pocket knife. That is a treasure.
I often wondered what our lives would have been like had Grandpa P.O. lived longer. I know they would have been better for it. I still miss him.
Grandpa P.O. and Granny Beasley
It's a rare day that I am not reminded of them because there are so many things they shared with me. Granny loved making quilts, putting together puzzles, playing dominos and watching life go by. We'd sit on the front porch swing or at kitchen table and talk while Granny folded and patted a dish towel until it was perfectly square. In my younger days I remember riding the tractor with Grandpa P.O. for hours on end. He always had a nickel or two in his pocket for me, but it was his company I always treasured most.
So many small traditions, foods, interests, and memories came from that little house just outside of Gideon Missouri they shared with all of us. But when you add them all up, what they truly gave us was time, and a legacy of love: a rich heritage of family life passed down from generations before. I miss them both.
Terry L. Weldon