family history

Friday 13

My Grandpa Sewell always thought 13 was his lucky number. His place in Orchard, TX was 2.13 acres by deed. The “ranch” he bought before he retired was 213 acres…maybe 213 should have been his lucky number…
He would have considered Friday the 13 as a most auspicious day, and enjoyed it immensely. It would have tied in well with his favorite “holiday”, April Fools Day. My how he enjoyed catching you in an April Fools Day joke.
In his spare time he ran a nursery out back of the house. His specialty was Live Oak trees. Even the scar on his arm looked like the silhouette of a Live Oak. He always had a few hundred growing in 1 and 5 gallon paint cans he recycled from the highway department…They always had splatters of white and “highway yellow” around the rims. I can remember, as a young child, following him down the rows of trees as he drug a hose behind him splashing a couple of inches of water into each can. As a I grew up I thought how monotonous that job must be.
Now I envy him the meditative nature of the sameness. I understand the reason for the daily recording of rainfall. The monitoring of the windmill and the cement tank that held the water until it was needed for the trees (though at the time the cement tank was nothing but our private swimming pool). The slow but steady movement from tree to tree, the swing of the arm to move the stream of water from can to can. Filling each to the rim before moving to the next, up one row…down the next…back up again.
Another memory is of the small clay pots he filled with dirt and spread under the White Oak Tree that grew behind the old chicken house. Talk about taking the long view…Grandpa placed those pots to catch the acorns which would fall and sprout under the parent tree. You don’t get a lot of trees this way, but the ones you do get tend to grow on. Where this old white oak came from I don’t know, it was unusual for the area in which we live. I don’t know that I have ever seen another in this part of Texas. Grandpa always could grow things that were commonly not grown where he grew them. I think his thumb was green all the way to his shoulder.
Grandpa Sewell died on the 12th of January 1995 at the age of 88. I miss him.

Howard Eugene Sewell
7 Jan 1907 – 12 Nov 1995