Talitha - Chapter 23

T a l i t h a

Chapter 23

   This Christmas Eve at Mrs. Sammons' house was not to be too much unlike the last one. If there was any noticeable change it was that the family was more conscious of Talitha's marriage, only a few weeks hence, and this seemed to be the general topic of conversation. Mrs. Sammons had again made sure there would be plenty of fresh spare ribs, sausage and hams for one and all, while she filled the shelves with plenty of goodies. She had especially looked forward to this night when she would have all her family with her---Nancy, Polly, Frank and John and their families would be dropping in, including Talitha and Tucker, yet a young man at home.

   It brought Mrs. Sammons much joy to have all her brood around her once again.

   Talitha had been at the store since early morning and Mrs. Sammons was aware that Mr. Radford was there also to drive her home. In preparing the evening meal, Mrs. Sammons recalled hearing Mr. Radford say how fond he was of homemade sausage, and heaping the platter high with fresh sausage, she was planning to invite him to dine with them. Later, when all were gathered around the briskly burning fire in the fireplace, some popping corn, some roasting peanuts in the hot ashes, while others talked on various subjects, Mr. Radford had the warm feeling that the Sammons family had accepted him, that he now belonged. Mrs. Sammons, speaking about the general chatter and laughter to get their attention, said, "Have you noticed we have no moon this Christmas? Your great-grandmother would say, "Dark nights for Christmas brings us not glad tidings; it tells us the new year brings light crops and heavy graveyards." Addressing Mr. Radford, she said, "Bob, I hope this won't discourage you since you will be making your first crop in a few months." "By no means." Mr. Radford said. "Come what may, I promise my mule and I will be doing the best we know how."

   When Talitha's wedding day arrived in January, Nancy was on hand to help her dress. Talitha, standing before the mirror, was nervous, turning first on one foot, then the other. Finally when Nancy had made the last adjustment she stepped aside for a better view and said, "Well, my little sister, here you are a bride again and your years are yet so few." Talitha stepped forward for a closer look into the mirror, turning her head in many angles to see if each strand of her hair was as she would like it. She realized for the first time she was wearing the same hairdo her mother gave her the day she married Steve, the day she lost her pigtails. Her two large braids, softly placed across her head, giving her a slight pompadour, had been the cause for many compliments, and as Steve had admired it from the day they were married, she had never wanted to change it. Now that Mr. Radford admired it also, having once told her none other could be more becoming, she was positive her hairdo was to remain the same.

   When Talitha and Bob drove home from the officiating justice of the peace as man and wife, Fiddle, with her head and tail high in the air, was never in better spirits. When Talitha commented on her beauty Mr. Radford said, "I'm glad you see her as I do, I'm sure no mare ever held her head higher as a beauty. "By the way," Mr. Radford said, "have you realized you are now her co-owner? You are the first to ever own a hair on her back other than myself, and were it not for you I would still be her sole owner. Remember, I told you I raised her from a colt, having once owned her mother."

   A few days after their marriage Talitha and Mr. Radford found their usual places in the Sunday evening church services. After the services congratulations were in order, many hearing of the marriage for the first time, but not Grandma Berry. Someone, realizing Grandma Berry's hearing was impaired and thinking she might not understand why the excitement, said to her, "Did you know Talitha and Mr. Radford were married?" "Yes-s-s," she growled. "Don't men do the most foolish things?"

   Now that Talitha would be living several more miles from the store, making it impossible for her to be there at all times, she was selling the store to Jason. He had expressed a desire to own it and she believed he richly deserved it.

   Although Clemmie was to live less than three years after her mother's marriage, Mr. Radford was positive no child could have been more lovable, and when Talitha had put away the last of five Davis children she was satisfied no child could have had a better father.

   Grandma Sammons, as she became affectionately known, lived in the Dry Bayou community for forty-odd years. Here, she enjoyed her many grandchildren and reviewed her fondest memories. One she cherished particularly was the fact that Bob Radford had been a kind and loving father to Clemmie, the daughter of Steve Davis, whom she loved and respected and was always to believe the best man who ever lived. When Grandma Sammons passed away at the age of ninety, leaving Polly, Talitha and John to mourn her passing, she was laid to rest in the little Dry Bayou Cemetery, the one of her choice, shrouded in the dress she had made with loving hands forty-five years before and had carefully preserved to await this day. Thus was granted one of her last requests, fulfilling a promise which Talitha had made her mother thirty-five years before.

   Talitha and Bob?

   They walked hand in hand together down the path of life that led to many happy years, always to believe:

For God so loved the world, that He gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth on him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
                                    John 3:16

(NOTE: This is not the end, only the beginning of their lives together. They had a family, and Bob became the County Clerk of Ashley County, Arkansas.  Read their charts in Talitha's Family History.)


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Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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