While sorting through some more of my Aunt Fran's earthly
belongings this week, my mother found a book, which she gave to me
yesterday. It was a book that would never attract my attention.
It is not about sports, guns or military history. But, the
book belonged to my Grandmother, Sadie Stover Peters. Well, that's
What was strange was that Aunt Fran, the owner of
the book, was from the "other side of the house"-- my mother's people who
lived in and around the Kanawha/Jackson County border. How did Fran
come to acquire Grandma Sadie's book? My mother reminded me that
Fran's husband, Uncle Chuck, collected old books. Maybe that was it.
Maybe my Dad gave it to Chuck after Grandma Sadie died. The
route isn't that important, I guess. I'm just thrilled to be the
The inscription on the inside cover of the book
reads, "to Sadie Peters from Irene & Ralph for birthday April 29
1948." It was her Jack Benny birthday and for number 39 her brother and
sister-in-law presented her with "Walkin' Preacher of the Ozarks," by Guy
Howard. My first thought was of my Ellison ancestors, many of whom
were preachers, spreading "the Word" on horseback and on foot. They
were probably the type of preacher featured in the book, I thought.
Just not in the Ozarks.
The book, with a 1944
copyright, is about a preacher whose congregation is not well-to-do, but
who do well putting food on the table and a roof over heads. Like so
many of our ancestors, they work hard in the fields, sometimes sacrificing
worldly possessions to provide for family. Their reward will come
The book had no genealogical finds between its
yellowing pages. But for a man who knew very little of his
grandmother, who passed when he was but five, it is nice to read the same
words, turn the same pages and hopefully, think a few of the same
My favorite part, of the 275 pages, is a paragraph
found in the epilogue. "Doubtless God could have made a better
country, but doubtless God never did. And when I'm called to leave
it and walk down the lonesome road, I hope to go wearin' my walkin'
I don't know about the rest of you. But I'll need
some "runnin' shoes." There's so much to do. I want to go
fishing with my father. I want to eat some of Grandma Coleman's corn
bread. I want to smell Grandpa Peters' pipe tobacco. I want to
hear Grandpa Coleman sing "Len's Creek Mountain." I want to ask
Grandma Peters about a book.
Some of us have been waiting a