I remember asking my Pappaw, John B. Gordon Hembree, why he never remarried after Nanny -my grandmother, Kathleen Lasater Hembree – died. We were sitting outside, on the old metal porch chairs. He was cleaning the tobacco out of his pipe. As he reached two fingers into the bag of cherry tobacco I’d brought for his birthday, I began to gently tease him about all the ladies in the valley, and how they must’ve brought casseroles, offered to help out, and generally eyed him as an eligible bachelor. He continued to mess with his pipe, as he allowed as how there were several women that offered comfort during the years that followed her passing.

She could have had any suitor she wanted…

He told me that my grandmother was ‘right pretty’, and that she had several ‘beaus’. He said that she was from a good family over in Bridgeport, and that she could have chosen any of those ‘fellas’ she wanted. “But she chose me over all them others.” He just looked a little bemused. Then he continued, and shared with me the reason he never remarried, “None of those women were your grandmother,” he said, as he began gently repacking his pipe.

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Thanks, Pappaw. I love you, and I miss you and Nanny, very much.