News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Ma and Pa eloped, leaving a legacy

So many cousins, so little space.

We crowd into our living room near midnight on a Saturday, listening to our children jam on guitars and sing.

Cousins outnumber chairs, so some of us recline on the floor, backs against the wall.

We adults yawn, tired but happy after the Crow family reunion continues on long after its official end.

I close my eyes and think about how little things — chance or providence — influence generations to come.

I picture our grandparents, Davis and Elberta Powell Crow, riding a ferry across the Tennessee River at Decatur. They were teenagers, too young to marry in Alabama, so they rented a taxi and eloped to Tennessee.

They are no longer with us, but as I look around the room, I know that’s not quite true.

If being their descendants is not enough, we can view the old black and white film shot at Christmases past. Ma and Pa Crow watch and laugh as their blond grandchildren run to the tree, tearing open gifts, full of energy, full of promise.

We reminisce, Cousin Jeff reminding me of the spring break that I ruined our chances with a group of teenage girls.

The cousins elected me to do the talking and they’ll never let me live down the worst pickup line of all time: “Y’all got a name?”

We laugh about the time Cousin Rob and Cousin Randy asked me to go spelunking.

“Sure,” I said.

As we drove away, I asked, “What is spelunking?”

After six panic-stricken hours lost in a cave, I knew the answer.

During one of Cousin Jeff’s annual summer visits, we watched as my grandfather’s mules pulled a plow to uncover hundreds of plump Irish potatoes. Then we went about the hot task of harvesting them.

“Until then,” Cousin Jeff says, “I thought potatoes grew on trees.”

Ma Crow outlived her husband and four of her children, including my mother, Wilda.

Mother did one of those small things that end up affecting generations to come. She let the Baptists in Decatur dunk her. Eventually the rest of the family switched from Methodist to Baptist. Some, including the Methodists, would consider that a step backward.

So here we are, cousins, hair turning gray, reclining in the floor and watching another generation laugh during an impromptu jam session.

We’re tired, but we want to hold on to this.

Scott Morris is managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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