Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For All the Edwins

I grew up in a small town. Everybody knew everybody's business. And if you didn't know it, you just went to church on Sunday morning and listened to the prayer requests, God love em. Then you knew the dirt. But we weren't gossipin - just lettin the good Christan women know the story so they could pray for the poor souls, bless their hearts.

Maybe it was because we always knew them. Maybe it was because we just didn't know any difference. Maybe it was because we were all just a few decisions away from another's situation. Maybe it was because when you REALLY know someone -- where they come from, where they've been, what they have struggled with -- it is hard not to understand, impossible to judge. But we just didn't. We didn't judge, we just loved.Especially Edwin. No one understood him. No one really could carry on a conversation with him (though Lord knows I tried) No one could ever get close him.But no one talked bad about him.
And now, as I drive back to the farm I grew up on, I pass Edwin's house just a few miles away. And when I am with a group of my friends, who have never been on those road, I hear a gasp. A gasp of being appalled. A gasp of disgust. A gasp of pity. A gasp of judgement.
And my heart drops. Cause although Edwin has always been a fixture in my life, I never saw him like they did. And because they never KNEW him, they could not see him like I did.
And for some reason, I felt a sense of protectiveness rise up in me for a man I honestly have rarely spoken to, but has always been. Always. He share cropped 100 acres on our farm, was the pallbearer for my Auntie, and was always a good man.
But I felt embarrassed. Not for Edwin. Not that I knew him. Not that I accepted him. Not that I was even a little like him.
But embarrassed that the same judgement I had seen on my friends' faces, had graced mine at different times of my life. Not in judgement of Edwin, but for others. And I was ashamed. For all the Edwins I had prematurely judged.
(PS If you look close enough, you can see Edwin on the porch. Ah, what a sweetie.)


Anonymous said...

Did he see you taking pictures? Did you wave and say hello?


Dana and Daisy said...

I recently drove past my grandparents house and I realized my GOSH they lived in the slums didn't they. I never noticed the tar paper houses all around them when I was a kid. But I know they looked that way then. My grandparents had a decent place, but their horses were always getting out cause my grandpa's zest for life died with his daughter at age 17, and he never fixed the fences. When I drove past last summer there were horses out on the street, and immediately I thought, d---, grandpa's horses are out again. Or course my grandpa has been gone for like 30 years and so then have his horses.

funny how these things happen in our minds.

~Mad said...

I looked and I looked and I can't see him - are you sure he's there?

~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

mad -- you can see him best in the first and last pic -- by the pole...he has a LONG beard

KS -- of course I waved and said hello....it's Edwin.

Linda said...

You are amazing. I know I say that a lot to you but every day, EVERY DAY, you continue to be the best, most selfless person I "know". You make me want (and strive) to be a better person. Thankyou.

vsmphotography said...

what heart! you're such a strong person!

Lo said...

One of the best things about living in the south is, (and I hope you take this in the non-judgmental way, cuz it's meant that way) we LOVE and EMBRACE our family that's a bit "off their rocker" We know that everyone has the potential to be or have been that way if our lives had gone down a different curve or if we had made a handful of different decisions. And this isn't though in judgment because what they may lack in outward appearance of "decency", they more than make up in inward decency. And the reverse is often true for those who "look decent"
Love to you and your family & to Edwin!

Treasia said...

Still can't see Edwin. Even after getting out the magnifying glass.

Suzanne said...

I just returned from a week at my inlaws in northern Indiana and know exactly what you're talking about. Gives you pause doesn't it -- a man's home truly is his castle. Great piece.

~Mad said...

Then it, indeed, was him that I kept looking at. Thanks.

BTW, I use you playlist.com to listen to most evenings in front of the computer - you've got great taste!
Gives me lots of songs to consider for my iPod as well.