Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Top Of Jones Hill

This place embodies the true meaning of bitter-sweet...

My husband, his father, his father before him and even his father before him. Maybe that was confusing...Leonard, Herman, W.W., Richard, and many family members in between the generations, their memory all still lingers on the tombstones atop of that beautiful hill. If you stop cleaning the stones or arranging new flowers in the permanent pots long enough to feel the wind softly blowing through your hair, smell the faint scent of freshly cut hay in the air, feel the rich black dirt under your can close your eyes and transport yourself right back to the Patton farm located in the valley below. The farm that Richard built, that W.W. farmed (and preached in the churches near by) and where Herman farmed and raised Leonard. They all are part of this land and we are a part of them...How rich is our history here in Watertown, Tennessee.

Last to live on the Patton farm was Leonard's sister Geraldine and her husband, Johnny. She was raised in the big white house, then owned it for 27 years before Johnny became ill and they had to move where less work was required of them. Johnny, too, is buried on Jones Hill, where the family comes and makes sure no grave site has been neglected.

This is not about death and dying, this is about a great legacy of generations of solid folk, each working for the next generation, keeping the faith of 'til death do us part. Makes me so proud to be a Patton.

Merry and I drove up that steep hill today and lingered for awhile. Enjoyed the unseasonably Spring-like day and talked with a smile about those who went before us:

"Scotch-Irish, blue-stocking Stock"

"Owned slaves, was good to them and had them come into the home each night for Bible readings and prayer"

"served in the Confederate Army"

"were teachers and ministers" John Patton and His Descendants...1922

Sweet, because they were here; bitter, only because they are gone. Sweet, because we can carry on the legacy and enjoy the memory of their lives.

I had a daughter once, who loved the idea of being a Patton and going to the Patton farm. How proud she would be to know that her grave was among the company of her forefathers. When she died, it was all that was left to give.