Last week we attended the funeral of a dear friend of fifty plus years.
Derry and Dora were high school sweet hearts down in Mount Herman, Louisiana back in the 1950's.
When Derry was accepted into Medical School at LSU, he married Dora because he declared he wouldn't go without her.
Derry was a very industrious and hard-working young man, having his own dairy while in high school. This work ethic served him well as he went on to graduate top in his class of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M. He and Dora returned home where he ran a dairy and was in private practice for 32 years. During this time, he served as a deacon, choir member and respected community leader.
Some thirty years after graduating, he moved back to College Station where he became Clinical Associate Professor in the Large Animal Medicine and Surgery Department at Texas A&M University, during which he served 7 years as a State Veterinarian for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Derry was a true "man's man!"
Both Derry and Dora retired in 2007, Derry after being a veterinarian for 49 years and Dora in Louisiana and Texas schools for 27 years. They then devoted their time to writing their memoirs of life in rural south Louisiana and in College Station, entitled, A Veterinarians Life; A Veterinarians Wife
Derry's wish was to be buried back at the old church cemetery where his parents had pastored in 1943 near where he and Dora grew up. This is beautiful rural countryside that used to be dominated by dairies and the raising of Holstein cattle.
Today, multiple generations still live in this area where ancestry and family gatherings are still valued as the center of rural life.
Hubby and I stayed with one of Dora's sisters while we were there.
Elaine kept us entertained with interesting history of the family and the land and took us to see the old family home place where their parents had reared seven children.
|Elaine and sister, Dora|
One afternoon, I took my camera and returned to this beautiful land that takes one back to the early days and life long ago. To me it spoke of beauty of nature, age and neglect.
Long forgotten hay rakes were left in a field to rust and play hide-and-seek with weeds and grasses.
The old Wilkes Homeplace
It was in this picturesque site that the Wilkes gave birth to and raised six daughters and one son. The oldest daughter is now 83 years old and has such vivid and wonderful memories of her life at this place. She still lives nearby as do five of her siblings.
The remaining children sold the home and land several years ago when their mother died. No one lives there now although the new owners do plan to do some updates.
Elaine told me this is the swing they used as children, as did their children. How many stories of imaginings and laughter and shouts of "higher, higher" could this old tire swing tell us?
Only an occasional breeze moves this swing these days.
A couple rusty old hay rake tines waiting to be used or possibly used for the last time and left as yard art leaning against a large oak tree trunk.
Awaiting harvest time to rake up the hay to provide food for the cattle.
The oldest daughter, Bobby was amazed to know that the old clothes line is still standing and then recalled the many days clothes were hung to dry with these clothes pins, now only a rotting reminder.
This area is no longer the dairy capital of the state but cattle still play a large role in the rural economy.
Funerals are times of celebrating one's life when they know the Lord Jesus Christ.