The point | By: stanley ray Mcqueen | | Category: Short Story - Life Bookmark and Share

The point

The Kentucky mountains is were I was raised up . By two good Christian
parents . Fathers name  is Luther wells and Mother name is  Sara. My
name is Jake and I have one sister and her name is Martha, she is just
twelve years old, and quite a pretty girl , she is dark skinned like
mammy. Our small corn farm sets surrounded by rough ridges and paw own
sixty acre more or less of land, Our small Farm house is crude and
build out of logs paw cut and made with his own hands before me or
Martha was born, growing corn is how we make end meet and we also have
a few hogs and cattle to tend too.  Paw fell sick last month with a
disease called consumption . And doctor smith said he was going to die
, and that there was no cure for this lung disease . Being just sixteen
and hardly big enough to plow a mule and tend to the farm work has
brought a bad hardship to our family.. Paw is too proud to ask any
neighbor to help us out and mammy has been helping me in between
helping take care of paw . Bad times have befallen us . Paw lays in the
big room of our shack he is pale and cannot hardly walk and help
himself, last night I heard maw crying after ever the lantern was blow
out and it was dark in the shack. She was praying that God would help
paw to live and not die , and this made me so sad I hardly slept a wink
after hearing her crying., Paw said God must have a job for him up in
the heavenly throne calling him home so early at just forty six years
old... it was so hard to look at paw just withering away right before
our eyes and he was so frail looking ., and just months before he was
so strong and working and doing the farm chores and now he is barely
able to set up in bed for a spell. Martha I don't think really quit
understand just how sick paw is and we have not told her paw is going
to pass away , maw said we should not tell her that paw is going to die
soon , paw called me into his room and said he had a favor to ask of me
and I asked him what did he want me to do. Well Jake you go over and
tell Tom north and Fred Gilmore and wade Bishop I need them to come to
the shack that I need to asked them to do something for me... what is
it that you need them for I asked  paw, never mind son just go as I
have told you and don't ask me no question. You know after they have
come he added, I saddle the little mule old Charlie and rode across the
ridges to each of paw friend and neighbor as he requested . Then I
headed back home and was soon there and after a little while all three
of paw good friend showed up to see what paw needed of them. Maw showed
them the room paw was in and he greeted them with a faint smile and had
maw to set three chairs beside his bed for them to set on while he
talked to them from his sick bed. Now boys I have called you all three
here to do me a favor and I have worked beside all three of you on
these old rough ridges for many years now and we have swapped work and
help each other in all kind of needs on each party benefits , now boys
it falls on you fellows to do  Luther a favor .. Tom speak up and say
what is it that you need us to do Tom asked paw? I want you boys to dig
my grave paw says and the three men look strangely at paw., then Fred
says who ever heard of digging,  a man grave before he is dead ? Well
Fred im not like most men , I want things done good and proper and I
know this is a strange request , but like I said I want to make these
choices before my eyes closes in death, and furthermore I have works
along side each of you when we all pitched in and helped dig neighbors
graves and I know you all will do a good job and dig my grave six feet
deep and you'll square the edges just right so my box will fit
perfect.. I don't want a lazy man digging my grave and I don't want
varmint digging my bone ups and scattering them around the woodland.
Well when do you want us to dig it asked Fred , tomorrow is fine
because boys im not going to be here much longer , as you all see I
have wasted away to nothing but skin and bone. And furthermore when you
boys are finished with my grave I want each of you to visit every
neighbor in these parts and invite them to my shack for a meal and
singing and I want to say a word to all these fine hill folks that have
all been real good neighbors and farmers like we all are paw says and
tries to give a cheerful smile at his last words, and also I what my
overalls put on me and my old ragged cap that I have wore for nearly
ten long years back . My Sara will take care of the latter paw tell the
men. Well Luther we will be here early and do as you have asked .. Tom
says. Where do you want the grave dug at asked Tom, as they were about
to leave?   Paw point at the ridge that stands just beyond our shack ,
it can be seen from paw winder and paw said that old point is fit for
nothing but laying a bodies bones on it to steep to turn and plow for
corn ground ,, those big oaks that stand there will shade my resting
bones paw says sort of grinning, well Tom said we will be off and we
will see you in the morning , paw waves at his friends as they make
there way our of our shack , each of them rides off toward their shacks
and families Maw she crys as we watch from the yard knowing what paw
asked them to do for him. Paw said he never wanted a tear to fall from
nary eye at his passing away and wanted folks to laugh and have a good
time before his corpse, paw said when the lord calls a man number his
time is soon up and that folks should not fret when a man soul is pure
and good and Godly and that there isn't no crops to tend around God
throne .paw don't act like he nary bit scared of the death angle and
that is something I don't quit understand , guess my age is against me
being just sixteen to understand such things as that, the next morning
come and the three men showed up with picks and shovels and maw made
them some breakfast and coffee and they talked a spell with paw ,
before climbing the steep ridge do dig paw grave.. It was almost two in
the evening when they come down and told paw the grave was done just as
he asked and they said they told all the near by neighbor that they was
to come this very evening that maw was setting a big supper  and paw
wanted to be around his neighbors one more time before he passed on.
They went away toward there home and evening wore on and maw was busy
cooking with large pots for we had many neighbor and friends that would
be coming along about supper time,   folks come in wagons pulled by
mules and people all respected paw and our family and I felt proud of
them all, maw had help paw to a chair on the porch stoop and so many
come our shack could not hold all the folks and children , all the men
folks shook paw hand and told he that hated he was sick and was praying
that God would spare his life and make him well. Paw told them that God
had other plans for his up yonder in glory land and that should not be
sad or grieved at his parting these ridges, Tom who help dig paw grave
told paw that the neighbors was all going to pitch in and help gather
the fall corn crops whether he agreed with them to do so or not .. Paw
said back to Tom I hate to be beholden to anyone but that would be a
sure burden off him shoulder if they would do that.. And Tom said to
paw it will be done as I have said .. A tear fell from paw pale
wrinkled face and disappeared on the wooden planks of the porch stoop..
Tom reached down and hugged paw neck and now he has tears boiled in his
eyes.. Never before had I ever seen paw cry but this night I did and it
touched my heart and made me want to weep , but I held my tear inside
and never wanted paw to see grief in my face...never had I see Tom weep
who had been so strong a man as folks was here in the Kentucky
mountains... The fact of paw dying was hitting home in my heart and
fear was could I handle a man plow at the age of sixteen. These thought
haunted me as I wondered how could we make it without paw,, it was
after ever one had eaten that paw has all the folks to come to the yard
and he was going to make a talk. Every one listen as paw made his
talk.. Folks and neighbor paw starts his talk, I have  been a neighbor
to each of you and have found you all to have grace in your hearts and
lives. We are hill folks and hill folks stick together as we are
assembled here at my shack tonight , tonight I want to tell you all
this that I never meet a better bunch as you all are and have proved
down threw the years we have been neighbors, we hill folks hardy ever
say we love anyone , we love in deed more that with the mouth like some
folks love.. But this evening im going to tell you out right I love you
my neighbors.. Just like the good book said for me to do,,, folks
clapped at paw words, woman shed tears and hugged , tears streamed down
my face and mamma , the spirit of love had swooped down like a giant
eagle and filled each heart right before our yard,,, folks stayed late
and the night wore on and soon folks headed home . It seem sort of sad
when they was all gone , but paw seem pleased at getting to see his
neighbors one more time.. That next evening the death angle swooped
down and took paw soul while we all three stood beside the paw
bed...there was a stillness in the room ,on paw pale face was a smile
and peaceful grin, maw took each of us in her arms and said children
paw is home now.... and maw then pulled the sheet over his face, Martha
asked maw was paw ever coming back and maw answered and said no
daughter we will go to him,,, somehow I was peaceful knowing what paw
had told me before he died ... he said son God don't  need us so bad ,
but don't forget this son we sure need him... then I wonder to myself
what has God got paw doing up yonder before his mighty throne, that
next day all the neighbor come to help bury paw on the point as he
requested,, six strong men made paw coffin and they loaded it  on his
corn wagon and the mules pulled hard against the wagon and all the
neighbor followed as they drove the team to the new grave atop the
point where paw bones will lay .. As we followed behind paw coffin
there was a feeling come inside my heart that I had never felt before..
I was proud to walk among these fine neighbors and proud to be called a

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