He Hoed His Row

Several years ago, I went to my friend’s father’s funeral. I didn’t really know him. He was older when his son’s life path crossed with mine.

I knew a little about his life. I knew where he grew up over in the delta, what his career had been, and I knew how he had suffered physically during his last years on this earth. I also knew he was loved, and with his going home, he would be greatly missed.

The preacher officiated the funeral using a metaphor that he had taken from this man’s life. Like so many people of his generation who grew up in on the river-bottom farms of the South, my friend’s father took his turn at hoeing cotton.

I can’t quote the metaphor exactly but it went something like this, “He hoed his row. He hoed it clean. He hoed it to the end. Then he laid down his hoe and went home.”

Maybe some of us who were younger at the funeral didn’t really get it’s meaning because we had never hoed a row of cotton. My own grandfather told me when I was running around barefoot on his farm that I wouldn’t really understand what it was like to work until I had my turn with the hoe.

I told him to plant a field so I could understand. He never did. He was way over having anything to do with a cotton patch.

Of course, the preacher wasn’t eulogizing the man’s ability to clean weeds from a row in a field. He was talking about how the man had lived his life.

All who are in Christ have a row, a field, a portion that has been given to each of us to steward. When we get to the end of the row, we want to have accomplished our kingdom purposes. We want to be able to lay down the hoe and leave our plot on this side eternity ready for those who come behind us.

This week as I begin a week of gratitude I want to remember my grandparents. All but one has "laid down their hoe." How I thank God for them! I feel so blessed to have grown up a country girl with many of those days at my Grandma's house. I live in town now, but I can't drive by that clapboard house up on the road without thinking the word "home."

Memaw, Dandy in the back, Naomi, her Momma, and Mom
I particularly thankful for this picture made this past summer of my only living grandmother along with my mother, daughter, granddaughter, and me, of course. The portrait is the second of two five-generation photos I have been in. (The other was when my Annie was a baby.) How blessed to have had godly grandmothers. They were and continue to be great examples to me.

What a precious blessing to be Naomi’s Dandy (my grandmother name). I give her to God everyday and pray she becomes a mighty woman of God in her generation.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, 
And shall declare Your mighty acts.      
(Psalms 145:4 NASB)

Counting the graces with Ann:

Memories of:
- the smell of coffee and biscuits in the mornings at Grandma's
- needle pricks on knees when fitting a dress at Memaw's
- picking strawberries
- digging for worms out by the barn before going fishing
- Pepaw bent over placing the milkers on cows morning and evening
- Grandma singing, face toward heaven, all in love with Jesus


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