Never having to live through a pandemic

By Ralphine Major

It is one of the simple guidelines in our new, normal world—stay home.  Doing so has provided plenty of time for families to reflect.  Even amid the pandemic that has affected thousands of lives, a glance back often brings back some degree of our “old” life.  These days of pandemic are a reminder of life in the sixties when my brother and I were growing up on the dairy farm.  Then, as now, we stayed home most of the time.

Reflection is important.  August 31 will mark 26 years since our father passed away.  On Father’s Day of this year, Ralph Omer Major would have turned 94 years old.  Born in 1926, he lived his entire life between the pandemics of 1918 and 2020.  In his lifetime, he never had to wear a mask or practice social distancing.  It is impossible to know if he would have had issues with wearing a mask, but he always did whatever his cardiologist told him to do.  He found joy on ordinary days like in this picture when neighbors stopped by on a Saturday evening in summer.  It was taken at the edge of Ralph’s garden as they gathered around Gene Thompson’s Farmall tractor that had been used for cultivating.  When heart disease robbed him of his livelihood of dairy farming, Ralph started growing a bigger garden and would often take bags of corn, peanut beans, and mustard greens to the neighbors.  It was his nature to call and check on neighbors regularly.  In the spring, it was Ralph’s delight to go with longtime friend, the late Ronnie Merritt, to Grainger County to pick up tomato plants.

The beautiful sunflower arrangement given to us last year has brightened our days all through this year, bringing a sense of joy and peace and reflection.  The generous giver had read in previous columns that, at our father’s death, the sunflower became my new favorite flower.  It still is.


Words of faith:  Psalm 104:24 (KJV) “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all:  the earth is full of thy riches.”