mom and pop

They were the definition of simple folk.

My grandfather, Justus Jennings Bird, died shortly after his 100th birthday.

His wife of 70-some years, Bettie Pearl, was 97 when she passed away.

I never knew my grandfather when he worked. By the time I was old enough to remember anything, he was retired and spent his time gardening. In the neighborhood, he was known as the man with the greenhouse. He would sell tomatoes and corn and green beans from his front yard in the shade of the tall oaks with the white-washed trunks. What he didn’t sell, Betty Pearl canned. They had home-grown vegetables all through the winter.

They had pride in their work.  Pop’s rows in the garden had to be straight. Mom’s apple pie crust had to be perfect. It was good, healthy pride, not like the kind in the Bible that makes you bad, to borrow a phrase from an Avett Brothers song.

Of course there was no social media in their day. They would have enjoyed seeing photos of their family, but there would have been no pics of prize-winning tomatoes, no snap-shot of the perfect pumpkin pie. They were appreciative if someone liked what they did, but it wasn’t why they did it. Pop liked to grow things. Mom liked to cook.

Simple folk. Simple ways. A lifetime of contentment.

Photo by Rick Lee.