Yesterday, I walked up the big hill in front of the farm to the cemetery. Dinwiddie Tucker, who was born in our house and played professional baseball, has a white marble mausoleum there. And I was hoping to find some other graves, particularly those of the people who were enslaved here 150 years ago.
As I climbed, the cows moved toward me like a wave, their huge eyes wide. A tiny calf – just days old – took shelter behind her mama.
I looked back at our farm and thought – “This is abundance.”
We have been given so much this year – 6 goats, 2 dogs, a flock of chickens, and a new farm that is full of history and story set in a place and community that will long hold us tight.
Effie Tucker is buried in that cemetery, too, next to her brother. Effie lived in our house for all of her 94 years. She was the school teacher at the school on the corner, and when I got to the post office and tell people where we live, they say, “Miss Tucker was my teacher.” It seems she taught everyone in Radiant, and everyone here gives her the honor of memory.
I was pleased to see her grave there – carefully carved and modest next to her brother’s tomb. That seems fitting.
In that small cemetery surrounded by wooden pickets, 5 or 6 graves marked with field stones sit quiet. Perhaps they are the early graves of the Berrys and Yowells, perhaps the resting places of the enslaved people that worked on our farm. In 2015, finding out ALL the stories of this place will be one of my central focuses.
In rural places, abundance is quiet. Decades full of children in your solitary classroom. The tribute of a community to a person who became briefly famous. The stones that hold up the room in which I now sit and write these words and those uncarved to mark the graves of those not forgotten. A tiny calf suckling in the near silence of a December morning.
For these our many blessings we are grateful.
Happy New Year, Everyone!