When I was 12 years old, a television show premiered that completely captured my heart; “The Waltons.” I watched it every week and sometimes dreamed that I WAS a Walton. (I still do sometimes!)
They had plenty of trouble in their lives but family always kept their heads above water and saw them through the most difficult times.
My family was so, so much different than theirs! It’s a fact of life that we cannot pick the family that we are born into. But if we could, my oh my!!
One of my favorite memories of that show was dinnertime around the table. My family, the one I was born into, never said grace. But the Waltons always did.
Also at that time a book came out that changed my life. It was called Foxfire. It was a nonfiction book that told the story of a group of 6th graders who went into the Georgia woods to collect the folklore of the people who’s families had lived in those mountains for generations.
The people who were interviewed talked about the traditions, practices and ethics that had come down through their families and how they used that information in their everyday lives. I’ll never forget the first article in the book was about an elderly woman who was cleaning out a hogs head with a knife.. (Not a barrel, but a real, pigs head!) As she carved bits off the head of that pig she talked about what she would do with all the various bits. The books are filled with household hints, DIY, ballad lyrics, musical families and on and on. I guess, in a way, it was my introduction to the world of preppers. These folks were set on protecting their way life. It was their choice to live where and how they did.
One of my favorite episodes of The Waltons was about ancient cousin Martha Corine and her family, who lived in the Blue Ridge and were losing their ancestral home in order to create the Skyline Drive, a national park that was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of FDR’s New Deal.
I’ve been to the Skyline Drive many times and have books about the struggle families went through trying to keep their land.
So, all of this is written to bring me to my main point… remember The Waltons sitting at the table and saying grace? When it was Grandpa Walton’s turn he would thank the Lord for the trailing arbutus.
I didn’t know what trailing arbutus was but if Grandpa loved it it must have been very special
Now, the tie in!
39 years ago my husband, baby son and I moved into a house that was situated off the road and in the woods. In the front yard was a scruffy patch of evergreen leaves that in the spring put out beautiful and tender pale pink blossoms. And they smelled divine! Our landlord told us his wife called them May pinks. And he also told us that the real name of the plant was trailing arbutus!
I could not have been more thrilled! (It doesn’t take much to thrill me.)
25 years ago we purchased that scruffy patch and next month we will make our last mortgage payment and that scruffy patch will be ours, all ours!
THIS Is how much God loves me! He gave me trailing arbutus. And every year I visit that patch and get down on my hands and knees and stick my face right into it, filling my senses with that sweet, sweet fragrance!