Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Van's hoe

Sylvanus Alonzo Neely {Van} was my great-great-grandfather.  He was a blacksmith and a father of four boys.  He, with the help of one of his sons, built a home in Wildwood, Georgia.  When the cement was poured for the extensive front porch, he inlaid his name in copper on one of the front steps {S A Neely}.  

The copper has a beautiful green patina today, and the house is my parent's, where I grew up.  Many in the extended Neely tribe still reside in Wildwood.  

My Granddaddy Joe lives next door to my parents.  In the steps leading to his mailbox is a small footprint that was pressed into the wet cement long ago - this is Sarah's footprint, the wife of Van.

I love that this family history is there in a tangible way.  That I can see where they were once were and know something of their lives.

I know that Van and Sarah must have kept a garden, and that when Van no longer used his hoe my Grandmother took it up.  Granddaddy Joe tells of keeping it sharp for her and that over the years the hoe head slowly became smaller with use.  It was in the tool shed when I asked for it, many years now after her death.  It was then that I was told it's beautiful history.

The hoe is now here with us as we build our little farm in Cairo.  I use it daily and in the quiet of garden work I think of those who used it before.  I was delighted, when making hills for butternut squash yesterday, that Levi wanted to help & got a chance to use it.  This was his great-great-great grandfather's hoe!


Beth said...

A beautiful story, and well-told. :)

Anonymous said...

I was moved by this story