Fayette County News

Fayette County


Be careful what you wish for

Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a #1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and on her blog at www.leestjohnauthor.com. Her new release is coming August 7, 2018 entitled, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” from Bienvenue Press. It can be found on Amazon.com.

My mother-in-law was a beauty. As a young woman, she was tall and leggy, with dark hair and green eyes. She was in the Little Rock Junior League and was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Arkansas. A runway model, she dated the owner of Braniff Airlines before she married. Rumor had it she also went out with Lex Barker, who played Tarzan in the 1949 movie Tarzan’s “Magic Fountain.”
She married a handsome and well-bred Army officer who moved her around the country’s Army bases with him for a fascinating life in different cities and who later retired as a lieutenant colonel. And in her time, many women fudged on their actual age. To hold onto their youthful appearance, she and women like her fibbed a bit about how old they really were. But lies can eventually catch up with you. Although a little white lie mentioning one was just two years younger than one actually was seems like nothing, it ended up being a grave mistake.
My husband’s family homestead, Columbia, Tennessee, is featured in the book Majestic Middle Tennessee by Reid Smith. This 1975 publication features homes and famous people from this area. Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett, and President James K. Polk are likely the most well-known in this land of rolling green hills, stone walls, rail fences, and the Nashville Sound because of its close proximity to Nashville. My husband’s familial ancestral home is featured in this book because a Revolutionary veteran was given a land grant and built this home in 1808, which still stands and is occupied by his first cousin. It is not as magnificent as other landmarks in the book, such as Belle Meade, Rattle and Snap, or Harrison House owned by the country western music star Jeannie C. Riley, but it is protected all the same by the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities.
The property contains its own family cemetery, and there have been good-natured fights at reunions for the rights of one’s final resting place. My husband’s father claimed a popular spot near an old shady magnolia tree. A few years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law passed away and was laid to rest next to her husband. But here is the quandary. She lived to the ripe old real age of 95. And what a milestone that really was! Shouldn’t she be recognized and commended for her longevity? And yet, hadn’t she told people for years that she wasn’t this old?
Her oldest son, my husband’s brother, handled the marker since he lived closest to this Tennessee home and forbearers’ cemetery. He also designed the marker and had it placed at the head of her grave. He kept the ruse of her being younger than she was when her headstone was being designed and then engraved on the granite. Shortly after she was interred, he kept hearing from people about what an accomplishment it was to live as long as she did as he shared the story of her real age. So, what did he do? He did not get in touch with the company who performed the engraving service, but took the cheap route of fixing it himself soon after her demise by using a rock, or something, to scratch out the date so that it added up to 95 years of life.
In his stupidity, he scraped the wrong end and had her departure date overhauled. In other words, when he fixed the mistake, her date of death hadn’t come to pass yet, which meant my mother-in-law was buried two years before she died. So, instead of dead and buried…it was the other way around. And he hasn’t shown his face at a family reunion since then either.