DAVID MIMS TURNER
(1915 - 1986)
I can only speak for my cousin Joann, Jackie Ray (Uncle Dave and Momma (Rosie Lee) adopted son, and myself. Uncle Dave and Momma raised me from the age of two. My natural parents were Eliza and Robert Russell. Eliza was Uncle Dave's sister. They were the children of John and Ethel Boyd Turner.
Dave and Rosie Lee were unable to have children. The story was told to me that I sort of chose them to be my extended parents. My living with them was a great deal of help to my mother who at this time already had eleven children and I was the tenth.
To Uncle Dave I was joy to his soul. Joann came to us after her mother, Magnolia, died. Magnolia was Uncle Dave's first cousin. Jackie Ray was suppose to stay for a couple of months while his mother got settled in her new job in Atlanta. Things kept happening so Uncle Dave and Momma ended up adopting him. The three of us were raised as siblings.
Uncle Dave was the strong arm of the law and Momma was our comfort in the storm. He worked at USS Steel Foundry (Pipe Shop) for many years and retired from there. My early memories of Uncle Dave include him getting up early and leaving the house around 4:00 in the morning. Sometimes I would get up with him and Momma. We would talk and laugh before he left. He had a black lunch box, wore blue denim overalls and black steel toe boots to work that always had the smell of the pipe shop and hard work. He was always a hard working man and taught us to be hard working and honest. Every Friday when he got paid, we would get an allowance IF we did our chores.
I remember when he had to bring home new shoes for me; he would take a string and measure my feet so that he would make sure that he got the right size. He had great taste so I was always happy with whatever shoes he chose for me.
He built his own home which is located in a small community called Granttown. Granttown is located in Munford, Alabama.
I remember that once Joann and I stole a carton of cigarettes from him. We went out to the smokehouse to smoke them. He knew the cigarettes were missing but never said a word. Everyday we would go out to that smokehouse to play Grown-ups with the cigarettes. We smoked until we got sick. Momma told us that he knew about the theft so we confessed and gave back the unsmoked packs. I just knew we were going to get a whipping, but instead he took out a big fat cigar and began to smoke. He made Joann and I sit in the room while he smoked it. Needless to say, we both were so sick but we tried to hide it from him. He wasn't fooled one bit. Later on that evening, I overheard him laughing and telling Momma that he was willing to bet that Joann and I would never touch another cigarette. I have to say that at the tender age of 41 and Joann is 39, we haven't touched a cigarette since.
He taught us other things, too. We learned how to mow a lawn properly, basic plumbing, change a tire, and check our oil and water. He said that women should know something about cars in case of an emergency. He would have taught us more about working in the field, but we were not interested. Jackie Ray, on the other hand, was taught how to be a fine mechanic, which he used after high school in the Air Force as an airplane mechanic.
With taking care of the family by going to work and such, he still made time to visit with the family. He would go down the hill to check on Aunt Julie, Aunt Mary and Aunt Maude. During Christmas he would take us to the Christmas parade. We always had a station wagon, so as many kids from the neighborhood that could fit in it he would take.