Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My People

Reba, Bonnie
One of my favorite memories is of my very young niece, Bonnie, and the identification card for her new wallet, which she proudly filled out...

Name: Bonnie Glymph
Address: Greer, S.C.
Blood Type: Chair O Key

Bonnie's Ma'ma Reba, my mother-in-law, taught the importance of family blood type through stories of her grandmother's people, and she was proud to be a Cherokee.

Geneva, center
As a child, I was proud of my Cherokee blood type, too, and enjoyed people asking if I had "Indian Blood." Trips to Asheville allowed me to see my dad's cousins with dark skin, hair, eyes, and high cheek bones.   Without the aid of a computer, my aunt Gladys traced our Cherokee blood line. Since Native Americans seldom kept written records, she interviewed relatives and was told by a great aunt that her great great grandmother, Lucy Kate, lived near a Cherokee reservation and "was never married, she just took up with some Indian, but you shouldn't go around telling things like that about the family."  This "took up" resulted in a half Cherokee daughter, Kate Black.  Kate's granddaughter, Geneva White, married a Brown and had a son, Troy, who married a Scottish girl, Sue Grant.

Troy, Jim, Sue
My uncle Jim Brown's description of his parents, my grandparents: 

My mother was a fiery, red headed 5' 2'' whirlwind from the Scott Highland Clan Grant. My father was a 6' 4'' tall, dark and handsome man with 1/4 Cherokee Native American blood flowing in his veins. She was from Bat Cave, NC. He was from a small rural township just North of Asheville, N.C. Woodfin, on the French Broad River.  They made a striking pair. Her with fair skin, blue eyes, and fire red hair. He with thick locks of black hair, deep brown eyes and a dark (not red) complexion that is so prevalent among the Cherokee.  Add to that the 1 foot difference in height and 130 pound difference in weight, they couldn't help but draw attention to themselves. As to temperament, that shock of flaming red hair was a warning to not dismiss her diminutive size while father's towering stature disguised a deep, slow to anger, soul behind dark pools of steadiness that were his eyes. I will say this for posterity sake. My father never raised a hand towards my mother or towards me, but I cannot say the same as to my mother as she was a terror when angered. I learned early from him to give her wide berth when you crossed "her" line and she had counted to 3.
Troy and Sue

I can recall many an occasion as a child, when we would travel to Gatlinburg, TN to camp at Elkmont National Park and the obligatory stop in Cherokee to let Daddy walk around among "his people" as he would call them. And invariably, one of the locals would ask him if he was "of the Cherokee Nation" which would make him puff up with pride and declare in his low resonant voice with a simple "Yes."

Our looks are passed down from generation to generation by blood. Physically, my dad and I looked like our Cherokee people, while my sister inherited red hair from Sue Grant Brown and my mom's Scotch/Irish people. However, our personalities were more complicated. The two red-heads in the house were much slower to anger than the two Cherokees.

My dad, Ed & my
grandfather, Troy
By blood AND example, we inherit from our people both positive (peace seeking, good natured) and negative (worrisome, combative) traits and pass those down by blood AND example.  Hopefully, we have positive traits (kindness, faith, generosity) given to us by our earthly fathers and pass those down, hoping to give our people much more than eye and hair color. 

Despite our blood line and traits from our earthly fathers, we have the same Abba Father,

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

and as we grow, our eyes open to traits, good and bad, passed down by blood or learned from our people, and we see our Father and strive to be more like him.

If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:7

Troy and Sue
Whether our blood type is A, B, O or Cherokee, Irish, or Scottish, our Abba Father walked this earth  showing us how to live and gives us His traits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) to pass to our people.

Happy Father's Day,








Sunday, June 8, 2014

Because of You, Henry Adair

In what situation would you expect to hear, "I'd rather be right here with you than anywhere else?" Somewhere fun? With close friends or family? How about a high school? Who would speak those words at a high school? Students speaking to each other, maybe?  Certainly not a principal.  Unless it's Mr. Henry Adair addressing students, alumni, and parents at Senior Award's Night at Westside High School where he retired as principal after 31 years. Actually, it was after the awards and after his surprise.
He didn't except a flash mob singing his favorite song, What a Wonderful World. Westside alumni  who had waited, for a few minutes in the rain, in an abandoned parking lot on Hwy 28 by-pass across from Westside, surprised their favorite principal, affectionately called "Daddy Adair."  He was touched and said, "I'm honored.  I don't deserve it, but I'm honored, and there's nowhere else I'd rather by than with you." Anyone who knows Henry Adair, knows he most certainly deserved this honor.

He wasn't an ordinary principal. It wasn't simply a job. Westside is family to him.  Yes, he has a family and shows them incredible love, support, and respect.  But he treated parents, students, staff, and anyone else with that same love, support, and respect; in fact, he said, "There may have been times I didn't like you, but I always loved you."

His children told me his favorite bible passage was Psalm 23.  I didn't expect that, but it's appropriate for Henry Adair.  He has been through the valley of the shadow of death, but it doesn't take long to realize he spends time with God giving evidence to a restored soul, renewed strength, and a life guided along right paths bringing honor to His name. 

Parents saw this; in fact, we have his cell number and called him when we needed him.  He met with us and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of our children.  Always sharing a positive attitude, he dealt fairly with staff, students, and parents.  

Students saw this and knew he cared about them. He stood on the sidelines and watched their games, weekend football and weekday volleyball, basketball, softball, and on and on. He attended concerts, awards ceremonies, and meetings.  If they were ill, he knew about it and expressed concern.  He saw them at Waffle House after the prom, took a selfie, and paid for their meal.

May 24, 2014 was Mr. Adair's last graduation as principal of Westside High School.  Luckily, my daughter was one of his graduates.  The valedictorian, Joshua Wright, reminded us of the tremendous influence he has on our community, "We could be so lucky to make the impact Mr. Adair has made."  

A few of Mr. Adair's final words from graduation prove that he's a man of God whose cup overflows with blessings, and in turns blesses those around him.

Make the rest of your life a great adventure.  Use your education and do your part to make the world a better place.  Set your goals high.  Don't be afraid to try new things.  It's ok to fail.  I dare you to be a good person. Be kind, courteous,  slow to condemn and quick to stand up for what is right. I hope Westside has made you different. I hope you're a better person. I hope you can see it's a wonderful world because of you. You have been my passion, my life.  You're the reason I get up.  I'm a better person for knowing you.  Do not trade evil for evil, only good for good. You'll always have a home at Westside.  It's been my honor and pleasure.  You've helped me more than I've helped you. You loved and supported me through Jane's (his late wife) illness and death. You'll live on in my heart.  No matter where you go. We'll always be there for you.

The Lord is my shepherd.  I have all that I need.  Psalm 23:1
Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23:6   NLT

The Shepherd guides Henry Adair's life along right paths, so we're the ones better for knowing him and have the privilege and honor to share his world. Students, staff, and parents experienced God's unfailing love and goodness by knowing him.  


We think to ourselves, it's because of you, Henry Adair, that it's a wonderful world.