Tom is still the most capable of traveling; being around 10 years younger than the other two surviving Williams children, but even visits are becoming more infrequent. So, it is up to me to get mom to
Nell is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and the other two siblings know that in time she will not remember them. Already she tells stories of their youth that neither of the other two remembers in quite the same way. During last week’s visit, Nell was telling a story of her and mom sitting on their grandmother’s back porch hammering nails when two Indians came out of the house. Mom and Tom do not remember anything about this, but I do remember being told that Grandmother
Great grandmother Johnston was a Morrison of North Alabama and was half if not full bloodied Indian. I’m not sure if she was from the Cherokee Indians of the area or another tribe that lived in the area. We know there were at least some Yuchi Indians around, but since we can’t verify much about the Morrison’s it remains unfounded. Most likely they were Cherokee.
Aunt Nell also was telling a story how great Grandfather Johnston first came upon his future wife, and Indian maiden, standing on the bank of the
That blood line and the Cherokee bloodline from the Mashburn side of the family is proof of my heritage. Maybe that’s why I always wanted to be the Indian when we played cowboys and Indians in the neighborhood. It was in my blood.
Anyway, I am moved to tears when I look at the photo of the three siblings sitting on Uncle Tom’s couch – Nell on the left and mom on the right of their remaining brother Tom. The literally had to be touching each other during the visit, as if they know time is their enemy. To make knowing that time will take each of them, they know that Nell may slip away from them even before she is gone.
In lighter moments, the evening we arrived Tom’s wife Carolyn had prepared BBQ ribs, potato salad, slaw, rolls, and other wonderful things like cheesecake for us. Uncle Lee and Aunt Nell drove down to eat with us and Nell and mom got to talk old times. That evening, Nell seemed to be completely together and they talked and laughed well into the evening. Also eating with us was one of Tom’s daughters, Amy and her beau Ken. I thoroughly enjoyed Stuart…he reminded me of my eye doctor, and seemed just as smart!
The last evening we all went to eat at Walton’s Restaurant near Elgin Crossroads,
Nell and Lee and Tom’s daughter Gina met us there and we had a great time.
I always dread “going home” as mom refers to the trip, but once there I always have a great time. They are wonderful people and Judy and I enjoy being around them. Tom also entertained us with his new Wii and I pulled a “buttock” muscle bowling! You really can get a workout on those things! I also like the cow racing!
So, we made plans to go back in September when there will be a big Indian meet at Spring Park in Tuscumbia, Alabama. I look forward to that very much…maybe there will be some kinfolks there too!
I took my mom to see her remaining brother (Tom with white beard) and sister (Nell is not shown) in
You should look so good when you’re 75 years old, however, you’ll have to work very hard and take the “medicines” (we would call them herbs) Tom Hendrix’s great-grandmother taught him about years ago. It’s to her, Te-lah-nay, that the rock wall Tom has built over the past 20 years is dedicated.
Hendrix’s wall is a memorial to his great-great-grandmother; a Yuchi Indian named Te-lah-nay, who was moved along the “Trail of Tears” with the rest of her tribe to the
“She is the only one to come back on record,” Hendrix says.
The wall is unique in many ways — its lack of cement, its various colors, the way it twists and turns about a quarter of a mile in mimicry of Te-lah-nay’s journey, and the way it seems to rise from the ground like a thick road or the remains of excavated ruins.
A late Lakota medicine man, whose name Hendrix said it is forbidden to mention in accordance with strict Lakota tradition, once walked the length of the wall and afterwards gave it the name it bears today — Wichahpi or “like the stars.”
Lifting about 2,700 pounds a day for 20 years, he placed each stone, taking them first from the ground to one of his 3 old pickup truck beds, to one of the 27 wheelbarrows he wore out, using one of the 1800 pairs of gloves he wore out to place the on the wall, one at a time just like the footsteps of her journey.
To date, he has placed nearly 7.5 million pounds of rocks in the wall. People bring him rocks too, some from every state, 127 countries, one from space, and even one from Mr. Everest. You can make an instant friend if you bring him a rock.
Tom is located on County Road 8 near the Natchez Trace in
Oh yes, don’t stop by after 5PM…that’s family time he says, “We eat at 5:30!”
Visit Tom’s website by CLICKING HERE!
See my photos of the wall by CLICKING HERE! Read the info then click on Slideshow!
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