Survivors

Trees are golden, orange, and crimson in the Atlantic community. Fall has officially arrived. I love hay rides, good, old-fashioned unpasteurized apple cider, and all things pumpkin spice. Fall is such a pretty, homey, and comforting season. And doesn’t the cool weather feel refreshing?

Fallowfield United Methodist Church is having a hallelujah party for children and teens on Sunday, October 23. The kids dress up as Bible characters, paint pumpkins, bob for apples, and roast hot dogs. We’ll try to have a hay ride, weather permitting. It’s always lots of fun. Adults are welcome, too.

West Fallowfield Township’s trick-or-treat night is on October 27, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. East Fallowfield’s trick-or-treat is on October 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. So turn those porch lights on and get a bag of candy ready.

I mentioned in last week’s column that I saw a picture of my late Great-Uncle Don’s 1930-31 basketball team. A reader let my editor know the name of one of the coaches, Paul Gibson. If you saved last week’s paper, you’ll see him on the far right.

This makes me wonder if you might know some of the men and boys in this photo. If you know their names, I’d love to hear from you. You may email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me at (724) 699-5291.

You may have noticed the caption under the picture of the basketball team. In it I mentioned the passing of my Great-Grandpa McEntire in 1932. He was a young man when he died and left a widow and four children: my Great-Aunt Blanche, Great-Uncle Don, Great-Uncle Roy, and my Grandma Millie. His death totally changed the course of their lives.

Uncle Don joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. He spent his days breaking rocks to pave roads. He sent money back to his mother and baby sister.

A few years after Grandpa McEntire died Uncle Roy dropped out of school and joined the Army. Grandma McEntire, or Gram, as I called her, lost the farm and moved to Geneva with my Grandma Millie. They lived there for several years. Grandma Millie grew up poor, but God always made sure she and Gram had enough to eat. Gram knew how to manage her money properly. She made sure they had their necessities. And no matter what, she and Grandma Millie were always clean and fresh as daisies. She used to say, “No one is so poor that they can’t afford a nickel to buy a cake of soap.” Amen, Grandma.

Grandma McEntire had spunk, let me tell you. She had gumption. She was never taller than five-foot-three inches. She had fiery red hair and the sweetest smile you ever saw. My favorite story about her goes like this:

After Grandpa died, she got some men to harvest her hay on the understanding that they put every third load into her barn. She observed their wagons practically tipping from the tall mounds of hay they were taking home and the small loads they put into her barn. She got fed up and marched out into her lane, crossed her arms over her chest and blocked the driveway as the wagon clattered toward her. I guess she was willing to gamble that even if they were cheats, they wouldn’t run her over. They stopped. She looked them straight in the eye and said, “I don’t know where you think you’re going with my hay, but you’re not leaving without filling up my barn.” Whoo! Talk about spunk.

Grandma McEntire was a sweet, tiny lady when I knew her. My first memories of her were in the early 1980s, when she was already in her 90s. She had Alzheimer’s Disease, but she was the happiest lady in the world. She always had a kiss and a contagious smile for me. Sometimes I’d see her standing at my parents’ picture window, looking out at their pasture and horses. Often she’d tell me she was looking for her Mama and Papa’s buggy. They were coming to pick her up soon. Doesn’t that make you want to give her a big hug?

Grandma McEntire lived to be 103 years old. She was six weeks shy of her 104th birthday. Talk about a survivor.

That’s the stuff folks are made of in the Atlantic community. They are survivors. God provides and they keep going.

Blessings!