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Ruth Pruiett - Memories

Part 2

I remember growing up and playing with my cousins Ruby, Gurney, Gifford, and Louise Treece and at times my cousins Cecil, Shirley and Aline Parker. We prowled around the farm and got into bags of grain in the barn. We got into Grandma's cellar and ravaged her pickle barrels of sauerkraut. We dug into the barrels and found the cabbage stalks that she pickled. Maybe she knew that we were doing it, because why else would she pickle the cabbage stalks?

We had a little red wagon that we rode down a hill by the barn. I loved to ride in the wagon, but I hated to be the one who pulled the wagon. I always thought it would run over me.

When my Mother died, Dad said that he heard a voice telling him, "Now you'll preach." Mama always wanted him to be a preacher. So, sometime after this, Dad approached our local minister at the Caryville Baptist Church, Rev. J.W. Wright and began his journey to become a minister. Shortly after this, he was ordained a minister. Sometime later he held a revival in the small town of Vasper, Tennessee, where he met a young lady of 18, Agnes Louise Rutherford and they fell in love. This led to a very brief romance and courtship, with my Dad traveling back and forth by horseback. And so on May 14, 1926, they were married by Rev. J.W. Wright. Dad brought her to live on the farm with Grandma and Grandpa until a house became available for them to live in. I don't believe the family welcomed the new bride with open arms. It must have been a very difficult situation for a young bride of 18 to find herself plunged into a closely knit family situation with three sisters-in-law who were still mourning the loss of a dear sister-in-law and mother of three children. She had to feel that she had very little authority of her own in the situation.

Years later, Louise told me that when she first met my Dad, her friends told her to set her cap for him. Her response was that she never liked 'warmed over cornbread' (meaning a widower, I suppose). My Dad must have overcome her qualms with his charming ways, however, because she married him anyway. And he did have charming ways!

In 1929, when I was six years old, my Grandfather retired from the big farm and moved into a small house close to the town of Caryville. He had grape arbors in the back yard and the very best well in the area. Everyone around came there to get water. This property also contained a smaller house, which was occupied at different times by our family and by Uncle Dit, Dad's brother and his wife, Aunt Laura and their family.

Ruth Parker
Ruth Parker, Age 15, in 1938

At this time, my Dad started moving around to different small towns where he pastored churches. We must have moved six or eight times between 1929 and 1934, when he moved to Kentucky to pastor two churches there. Warren and I stayed in Caryville with Grandma and Grandpa, Charles and Aunt Stella, to finish the seventh grade. And so we moved to Kentucky when Warren was 14 and I was 12.

When I grew up and went back to Tennessee and drove from Caryville to Tazewell, I was amazed to find that the distance was so comparatively short. When we were children, my brothers and I were taken to visit our Mother's mother, our Grandmother Seals, only twice that I can remember. However, in my Dad's defense, he did not have a car and it was difficult to hire someone to drive us to Tazewell.

When we arrived in Kentucky, our Dad went to church twice a week for Prayer Meetings, and Saturday Night, Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening for Church Services, alternating weeks in Maywood and Fairview Baptist Churches. I trekked along with him every time he left the house. It was my chance to have some time alone with him. We had to walk about two miles each way. Sometimes, Warren went with us and sometimes he didn't.

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