By Tommy Rush
My wife grew up in Bullock County Alabama. Her grandparents lived on a small 200 acre family farm and their home has always been the primary gathering place for my wife’s entire family. For many years “Papa and Mama Dykes” grew cotton and raised cattle, but later on they became peanut farmers and eventually planted the majority of their land in pine trees. My wife’s grandfather passed away a few years ago, and he actually died in the same house that he was born in 93 years earlier.
For the first 25 years of my marriage, the entire Dyke’s family would gather every Sunday at Papa and Mama Dykes for Sunday lunch. The Dykes were blessed with five daughters and twelve grandchildren and a host of great and great-great grandchildren. My children still love to talk about the memories of going to “Mama Dykes” on Sundays after church. It was more than a meal, it was an experience! Some Sundays it seemed as though 40 to 50 people were gathered together. Because I was the young preacher in the family, I was always called on to give the blessing for the meal. After you fixed your plate, you would find a spot on the porch, in the yard, at the barn or in the house to eat. I honestly never understood where all the food would come from or how there was always enough to feed everybody, but the table never became empty.
The Dykes were giving people. It did not matter who came to lunch, they were always welcomed at the table. They had “pea patches” that neighbors could come and pick peas from. Every Fall, Papa Dykes made Cane Syrup for family and friends. My wife and I never left her grandmother’s home without a sack of vegetables or beef from the freezer.
I’m writing this article as I’m watching my wife till her garden. I see her grandmother in almost everything she does. She loves not only planting a garden, but she loves having her grandchildren beside her playing in the dirt. The best crop her grandparents ever grew was not their corn, peanuts or cotton. The best crop they ever produced was their daughters and grandchildren! My wife’s grandparents had their values straight and I will be forever grateful to them for that. Mama Dykes taught her daughters and granddaughters how to be strong, giving Jesus-loving, Jesus serving women. And I got to marry one of them! Jimmie Leigh Dykes was a very small lady physically, but her heart and devotion to her family was huge! As I watch my wife in her garden this morning, I’m grateful for her grandmother and the “crop” she planted, watered, weeded and cared for every day of her earthly life-her family!
On this Mother’s Day Weekend it’s good to remember that children are, in God’s words, and this is in Psalm 127, “a heritage from the Lord…a reward from Him” (Verse 3). More than any other crop in your life, they will be the measure of how well you have lived. Your children really are your most important crop!