Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cecil

What a grey, rainy day here! ~
 
I hope you all are warm and dry where you are.
 
All of our snow is gone, washed away by the rain and 60+ temperatures...
 
That carol "In the Bleak Midwinter" comes to mind.
 
 
For some reason this morning I woke up
 
 with Cecil on my mind.
 
What brings to mind a person that you really didn't know,
 
but were around a little
 
50 years ago?
 
I don't know.
 
Maybe I'm supposed to write about him.
 
Cecil was a man who lived in a little room at the end
 
of my Grandpa Collier's workshop building.
 
He could have been fifty years old or eighty.
 
There aren't any photos that I know of. Not in our family's photos, anyway.
 
So I looked through Google images until I found this 1924 illustration
 
by Norman Rockwell...from my recollection, Cecil could have
 
posed for it ~ though, if he had a dog, he wasn't with him by the time
 
he came to stay at Grandpa and Grandma's.
 
If I'd ever heard any details about Cecil, I don't remember.
 
And, to tell the truth, I didn't just wake up thinking of him out of the blue...
 
The other night when I was driving home, I saw a man walking along the highway
 
carrying two duffel bags, and my first instinct was to think "That poor man"...
 
and then wondering if he had eaten, as I drove home to my warm house.
 
I even considered circling around, just to see how old ~or how desperate ~ he looked...
 
But then, I was so close to home at that point, and our house and driveway can
 
be seen from the highway...
 
that I reconsidered...I was nervous about him seeing where I lived if I made
 
myself conspicuous by going past him twice.
 
Isn't it awful that our society has come to that?
 
We still have the right instincts, but we push them back for fear of our own
 
or our family's safety.
 
Just not worth the risk. Sad.
 
It was then that I first started thinking about how my Grandparents
 
would have probably offered him help without a second thought,
 
and then I thought about Cecil.
 
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As I said, Cecil could have been 50 or 80. He was probably somewhere in between.
 
I don't know how he came to know my Grandparents ~
 
he probably just showed up one day, a "hobo"...
 
He helped Grandpa with the garden and did little odd jobs for them,
 
but most of the time he just stayed in his room, which was dark and sparsely furnished ~

There was electricity and a light overhead, but I believe he chose not to use it often,

as not to put Grandpa and Grandma 'out' further..
 
I didn't go in ~ I just got glimpses of it when I occasionally took him a plate of
 
Grandma's wonderful food...
 
(Grandma provided meals for Cecil three times a day...food was such a big deal
 
at Grandma and Grandpa's...Grandma loved to cook and Grandpa loved to eat! They had
 
owned a restaurant before retirement, and their world centered
 
 around the kitchen and food...♥)
 
I say "occasionally" because I was a little afraid of Cecil...

like Scout and Jem were afraid of Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird...
 
Just because of the way he looked; his general shabbiness...
 
He was never anything but polite and kind.
 
He would say to me, "Tell yer Grandma 'thank ye'"....
 
but I still dreaded going out there and knocking on his door!
 
I can still smell the saw-dusty workshop on my way to his room...
 
I was a shy little thing and didn't like talking to people
 
that I didn't know really well...
 
I dreaded going out to the workshop every step of the way,
 
carrying a pie-pan heaped with Grandma's fabulous fried chicken
 
or ham and vegetables galore, and always accompanied by her
 
mouth-watering biscuits...(the most heavenly biscuits you can imagine ~

I wish I had paid more attention to how she made them!)
 
As soon as I delivered Cecil's food I would high-tail it back to the house...
 
Grandma was trying to "socialize" me a little, I'm sure.
 
(Now I more than make up for my lack of talking then!)
 
~
 
Then one day we came to Grandpa and Grandma's and they said that
 
Cecil had passed away; a heart attack while he was sitting out in the yard,
 
talking with Grandpa.
 
His little room stayed just the way it had been, up until the time the
 
house and property were sold; after Grandpa passed away and Grandma
 
came to stay with us.
 
I can't help but wonder about who Cecil was (I never even knew his last name),
 
where his family was, and how he came to be in such a predicament.
 
Maybe he was an angel.
 
If so, my Grandparents certainly stepped up
 
 and did their part, entertaining "angels unawares"...

~
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Lon and Elphia Collier (better known as Grandpa and Grandma),

far right, at their 4-Way Cafe in Heath, Kentucky, 1950s.

~
I'll leave you with Cyrus and his new favorite toy,

recommended by daughter Katie's kitties...

the Cosmic Catnip carrot ~ :^)
~
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~
I've watched a little too much Lord of the Rings lately, haven't I?
 
Have a good rest-of-the-weekend!
 
Love,
Photobucket
 
P.S. Do you like my January background? Possum Haw! Or, Deciduous Holly ~ Ilex decidua.
 
We had a tree in our yard at our "vintage house", and my Grandpa Launius had one that
 
he shaped and pampered at their house in Essex, Missouri. At this time of year you can see it
 
in all the fence-rows and along the highway. It's an "iffy" plant, though, because depending
 
on when (not "if") the birds find it, it can be a glorious winter sight with its beautiful plump,
 
scarlet berries, or it can be feasted upon and be completely bare in an afternoon!
 
You can read more about Possum Haw here...:^)

90 comments:

  1. This post brought a tear to my eye. In the "olden days" this happened alot. People taking other people in who didn't have a home, no where to live, etc. Your grandparents were stellar examples of beautiful people. My great aunt was similar in that the farm they owned was near a "jail". The inmates who got out when their time was up, usually wound up at their farm, doing odd chores and helping with the animals in return for food. Food brings people together.

    Thanks for the story!

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  2. what a great story. we had a "cecil" too. he would show up out of nowhere, stay a few days, and go back to his hobo life. i loved that guy! he had the best stories.

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  3. Such a sweet, precious story. I love you.

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  4. This is such a lovely tribute. I can relate to being afraid of "hobos" when I was a girl. I was afraid of the train tracks because there might be a "hobo" there. Nowadays we don't have hobos. Where did they all go?
    Thank you for sharing your story...

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  5. Hello Anne! I also enjoyed the story of Cecil. It shows the kindness and compassion of your Grandparents, and your remembering Cecil and sharing him means he's not forgotten like he may have felt before he found a home with your Grandparents.

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  6. I loved this story of Cecil. I am afraid there are still many like him out there like the man you saw on the road. You are kind to have wanted to help but you never know these days.
    I love your Precious!!!!

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  7. Hello Anne,
    Thanks for taking the time to tell us this sweet story.
    Your grandparents were Christ-like, kind and charitable people.
    How wonderful of them to set that example for you.

    My Dad was that way.
    He would literally give someone the shirt off his back, if they needed.

    He was the one that set the best example of what charity should be, for me.

    He taught us that the best way to forget ourselves, is to serve others, and that action of service would make us happy.

    Thanks again.

    love,
    K.

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  8. What a lovely and moving story! Thank you for sharing it, Anne.

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  9. What a wonderful story and similar to one in our neck of the woods. I can see that poor old guy through your eyes. He was blessed to have found your family.

    Love your baby's new toy carrot...lol Who said cats don't like vegetables.

    I love your pretty background! xo Diana

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  10. We think Truffle would like that nip carrot.

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  11. What a touching story, Anne and a loving tribute to your wonderful grandparents. I, too just saw an old man gathering cans walking along the road on my way to the grocery store and bought a meal to give to him on the way back if I saw him again, but he was gone. I love Norman Rockwell and saw his exhibit just last year, he painted his subjects with such human compassion and expression. Your own Cyrus is dear and I love your blog background - we have holly here but the berries are already eaten, but I don't mind, I love the birds. Have a wonderful Sunday, hugs xx Karen

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  12. What a sweet story
    Thank you for sharing x

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  13. Good morning, Anne! I so enjoyed your story about Cecil. His relationship with your grandma and grandpa and your slight fear of him reminded me so much of some people in my grandma and grandpa's lives. It was common in the 50s for communities to take care of their poor and befriending them, rather than the nameless, faceless taxpayer doing it. It's a good reminder that there's more to people than their physical needs.

    Thank you for following Cranberry Morning. I'm your newest follower. Nice to meet you, Anne!

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  14. I've always loved fluffy cats and dreamed of having a white Persian. Quite unique babies aren't they!

    Happy to follow along in your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine.

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  15. Thank you so much for introducing yourself to me on my blog.

    You have a lovely blog and I will be following you as well. I love this post. Things were so different in another time.

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  16. Hi Anne,
    times have changed a lot. Today one cannot act too careful. Unkown people can act different. How sweet of your Grandparents to be so friendly to Cecil.
    Cyrus with his new toy is too cute.
    Have a great week.
    Best greetings, Johanna

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  17. You mention things I have pondered too, as I pass by someone on the road. My family too took in the 'odd' stray. They would work and get fair pay as well as a meal or two and a place to sleep before they moved on. I think it was a time of more trust and most people would do what was right. The last young fellow I drove somewhere was polite and happy for the ride. thanks for this reminder to help when we can.

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  18. Funny how the "Cecils" from the past creep in to ones mind at times..Creating questions and wonderments...Nice post..Cyrus is beautiful..I love watching them "make love" to their catnip..

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  19. What an interesting story. There is a homeless man that I see almost daily and wonder what his story is. Because of everything that goes on in the world it is difficult to invite people into your home, or try to help them personally. I love all of your vintage family photos...

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  20. What a great story! I think we all yearn for the way things were years ago...now you have to be so careful. Its not my natural inclination...i like to help people.....but now you have to second guess yourself....its sad....
    I don't remember anyone like that while i was growing up but while my daughter grew up we knew a Jimmy...he was what we called a Junker by trade and would bring my hubby things he would find in his junkin that he thought my hubby would use out in his shop...and ofcourse we would feed him from whatever we were having.....My husbands a good man and hes taught me how to be a better human being.....Hugs! deb

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  21. what a lovely, touching story. It reminds me very much of my grandparents who took great care in feeding the people who came to help them work their farm. You have a lovely blog, and I am no following you too :))

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  22. What a precious story Anne, I too long for the days when kindness was not to be feared. I wish we could go back. Love your background!

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  23. thanks for stopping by! - i just made you "my google fright too" :o)

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  24. Yes, it's sad that the world doesn't look like we want - and the way we imagine it worked back in the day. But not even then would a lonely woman in a carriage/ car have brought a man back into her house. A couple, or the man of the house, might have. But there is such a thing as self preservation, and being informed. And I would have YOU safe first, any day.

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  25. Oh-it was a lovely story...I felt like I could see your grandparents and Cecil.
    That kitty cat looks dangerous with that carrot!
    Love ya!
    Debra

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  26. Anne,
    Thought provoking and beautifully written post.

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  27. isn't it neat how people come into our lives and leave a little mark, that last for years? :]

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  28. I enjoyed hearing about Cecil. In your grandparents time people helped people the best they could. Today there are many Cecil's who are falling between the cracks because of the violence in our society. I have felt the same as you a few times seeing someone down on their luck but it is not safe as a woman to stop and help. Prayer goes a long way and maybe a phone call to someone who could check on this persons welfare. Cyrus is adorable with his cosmic carrot :) The photo of your grandparents in their cafe is sweet. A nice treasure to have.

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  29. Your story about Cecil brought tears to my eyes. Such a wonderful read. You are right, it is such an uncertain time to be kind to strangers on the roadside. Love that cute kitty!

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  30. Hi Anne,
    I just loved this true story and what wonderful grandparents you had to take this man in. I am sure he was an angel sent their way.
    I understand what you mean about helping strangers in today's world. You just have to be so careful. I remember when my dad would stop and help someone stranded with their car on the side of the road. Today you'd think again about stopping.
    Times have really changed, but hearts still feel the same, we just can't act on that good deed a lot of the time.

    I have so enjoyed your blog and meeting you. Thank you for stopping by and your sweet comment and new following. Wishing you a wonderful week and blessings many.
    Hugs, Celestina Marie

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  31. What wonderful memories, Anne! Love your blog header and your beautiful kitty! Thanks so much for visiting me, and for following, too! Have a great week:)

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  32. Such a great story! The food that your grandma cooked reminds me of the food my MIL used to cook before her stroke. She even had a sister named Cecil. It's funny how we remember certain things in our childhood and forget others.

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  33. What gorgeous cats you have, my oh my! I am now following you. Thank you for stopping by to comment on my vintage hearts.

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  34. Hi Anne, happy to meet you also. I truly enjoyed your true story and reminded me of my grandparents and mom also who used to help and feed those who needed it. Those certainly were different times. I am now following you and thank you for following me. Hugs, Lu

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  35. such a great story!Growing up I remember a few people that my dad brought home (2 different times). They stayed with us (sleeping on our couch...our apt is not that big)for several months at the time. People used to trust others more...I think. Thank you for stopping by my blog today and following me.

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  36. What a lovely story.
    You know, I'm less worried about what a stranger might do, than I am about our future as caring humans. We have let ourselves be convinced that there is danger at every turn and have acquiesced to living in fear. It makes me sad.

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  37. Happy New Year and new week, beautiful friend!
    My apologies for not having visited for some time...a household full of sniffles has kept my blogging to a minimum...
    BUT, I have read every post you have written since Christmas, and regarding the post where you speak of losing your precious parents, and the joy of sharing now with blog friends...oh, how I can relate to this...
    Nothing can replace sharing with my mom, but blogging has saved me from depression as well, I believe...
    You are one of the friends I am so very thankful for...
    Reading each post is such a delight (and the photos are wonderful)...your sense of humor, creativity, talent, and loving heart make visiting you a precious gift indeed.
    I, too, am sad that our society has instilled the fear preventing many of us from helping those who may need it most...
    Your story touched me very much...your grandparents were (and are) true angels...
    Blessings, sweet friend...
    - Irina

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  38. What a heartwarming story! Definitely teared up reading this. Thanks for sharing and how wonderful of you to visit me! Following you too. Love your way with words:-)

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  39. That is a great story, thank you for sharing it. And I have to say that I am rather smitten with Cyrus. Such an adorable cat.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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  40. Hello, new follower. I enjoyed your story about how your grandparents helped this man out when he needed the help. You are right we don't do that kind of thing any more. I wish I could do more for people who are down and out, but it is not safe to talk to the ones on the street. Love your cats they really do have personalities plus. Thank you for following me and the comment you left on my French style cabinet. Thanks for sharing Humble Abode

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  41. Just wanted to stop by and say Hi. Thanks for signing up to follow me. I hope you find a little something you like at my place....I enjoyed the story of Cecil...
    Mama Bear

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  42. Just stopping by. My maternal grandmother opened her home - they had borders (or at least one). Mom was just a little girl then. She's shared the watercolors he did (with me). I'll be adding thoughts of Cecil and your post when I look at my watercolors intentionally. They're prominently displayed but I miss seeing them sometimes. I should not miss seeing them!
    Love your background - I have the nandina berries on my background. I suppose the birds take to them but not like Possum Haw, apparently!
    Enjoyed your post. It's winter down here - for a change. Haven't had a real winter in years! Brrr.
    Take care! Hugs, Jenn

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  43. PS - the colors in the chair cover came out w/your header colors! Amazing how that photo changes with so little change around it! ;)

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  44. PS - the colors in the chair cover came out w/your header colors! Amazing how that photo changes with so little change around it! ;)

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  45. What a sweet remembrance, and it's so neat that you were able to share it in such a tender way. Also loved seeing Cyrus and his new favorite toy ":o)
    Blessings,
    Geneva

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  46. Hi Anne,
    First, thank you ever so much for stopping by my blog to give those wonderful words of encouragement. Your every sentence was appreciated. It was such a kind gesture, and not so disimilar to your blog post here. Doing something kind for strangers! I grew up surrounded by my grandparents, and I too remember their acts of kindness. Love your blog header! Glad to meet you, and now to follow your sweet blog.
    Maureen

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  47. Hi There. Thanks for following me. I am following you as well. Loved your story......times have changed so much. My grandfather was Lon. Your cats are beautiful.....little models.

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  48. Hello,
    I am one of your new followers. Lovely post! My parents use to take people in and I have also done that myself. I took in a young kid...he was 17 years old ...his dad died when he was 10 years old and his mother had 4 other boys..one she adopted, but they were much older than him..and they married and were out on their own. His mom was a lovely lady she worked all the time ...so he was on his own alot and he hung out with the wrong group of kids...ended getting himself in trouble. I took him in after hearing the story about him and gave him a chance to straighten out. He did get himself together, it was a struggle. He is now 24 years old and has his own place and works all the time! He has a big heart...he just needed a helping hand.

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  49. Dear Anne - what a lovely post...I too remember those hobo days. Grand parents lived near the railroad tracks and many a weary traveler would stop at their back door. My Grandma always fed them as well. Thanks for sharing this lovely memory of Cecil and reminding about those sweeter days. Take care my friend and God Bless.

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  50. What a wonderful story about Cecil. I agree, things were different in "those days." The people who owned our house before us had, so the story goes, taken in a man during the Depression, and he stayed for many years, sleeping in the small front bedroom. It would be nice to be that open and welcoming, but I'm afraid times have changed.

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  51. Hello Anne. Gosh, what a touching story. I really wish things were more like the good ol' days when I hear of beautiful people like your grandparents. Cecil was very blessed to live with such generous folks. And wow, your example of the kids in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' being afraid of Boo - that brought me back to my childhood watching that movie, and I had the same reaction to Boo!
    You've got a wonderful blog here - thanks so much for visiting mine, too.

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  52. oh my what a great picture of you grandparents......lovely big hearted story too!!

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  53. I love this type of story. Your grandparents were "heros" in caring for Cecil like they did. Oh to get beyond today's fears and reach out once again to people and help them.

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  54. Hello Miss Anne and precious kitties!
    I really do love LOVE the iffy plant and your background! I can see how birds would be drawn to it! It's just brilliant and how it glistens exposed to the winter elements!
    Oh how beautiful is this story about Cecil and your kind and very giving grandparents<3 It does humble us really! We are a society that is so different from those more Innocent times! These stories NEED to be told to Hopefully keep us from becoming so afraid lest we forget to Love our neighbor!

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  55. It is great to have memories of when you were a kid, we didn't understand social structure we just took things on face value maybe a better way to be.
    Merle......

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  56. 60+ is a good number, temperature or age !!!!

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  57. I have been enthralled reading your posts! I am now following you, too! It's good to make a new friend :)
    Hugs,
    Della

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  58. Dear Anne, what a nice and heartwarming story to brighten a winter day.
    Thank you for stopping by at Polonica: Home Again. I've joined your site too. Will be glad to visit again.

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  59. Such a beautiful post! I love all of your furr babies, they are beautiful!
    So happy you came to visit, following you too!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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  60. A great story. I am 20+ years older than you but can relate to this story. When I was a little 6 yr old girl in Dallas, Tex., there was an olden black man that lived in a little one room shack in the middle of a cotton field less than a block from my house. He was sooo sweet..his name was Will and to me, he seemed to be a hundred yrs old. This was in the 1940's. My little playmates and I would go to see him and he would talk about when HE was little. I have wondered and wondered how he came to be living in the middle of a field in Dallas. I'll never forget him.
    xo bj

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  61. O, and another couple things we connect a little on...my grandpa was a carpenter and had a little tiny shop beside his house. Every time I smell sawdust, I think of him.:)
    Hobos would come to his house and to my mama's house and they always fed them. The men would sit on the front porch and eat....
    My stepdad and his brothers owned little cafes, too.

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  62. What a sweet story, Anne. I loved hearing about Cecil and your grandma and grandpa. Thanks for sharing the photos, too.

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  63. What a lovely story Anne! Love all the kitties! Thanks so much for the follow... I'm happy to follow you now too.
    Tuula :)

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  64. Hi Anne, this was such a touching story. It is sad that we have to worry about things like that now days. Like you said, we want to help but then are a bit afraid of what could happen. I am so happy that you visited me today. Now I have found your sweet blog. Happy to be following you too!
    hugs,
    Jann

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  65. What a great post, I'm agree about how it is today and how it used to be for our safety and it is indeed sad.
    Thanks for stopping by and I loved all that I read.
    Hugs and have a great weekend! Marilou

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  66. Beautiful pictures, I love the cat with his carrot.

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  67. Thank you for visiting my blog! It's so nice to meet a fellow cat lover. I'm your newest follower. :)

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  68. What a wonderful story. I love your cat photo's. adorable
    Have a nice weekend

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  69. Thanks so much for visiting my blog- I knew the minute your fabulous cat appeared on your cover photo I would adore your blog and it did not disappoint! A lovely post! Am joining your site-
    ps Is that a Siberian Mountain Cat?- I have a similar looking kitty who showed up one day on our step as a stray (the neighbors thought it was a ground hog) and we have a bet going about her breed-

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  70. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! Thank you for visiting me so I could come back and follow. This is such a touching story. It made me think of an elderly old fellow that my Aunt and Uncle always had around - Carroll. We kids adored him. I do think people looked out for one another more in those days.

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  71. I so enjoyed your "Cecil story", Anne. Thank you for sharing this special memory with us. I'm so glad you stopped by Take Six. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  72. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for stopping by my blog so that I can follow you back here, to read this heart warming story.

    This is a reminder of how GOOD the old days were. Now, you can fell down by someone's feet and they wouldn't blink an eye.

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  73. welcome to tina´s picstory! :) love your cat ♥

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  74. My grandparents were the same way always giving a room to someone, a hot meal and LOVE. You are so right that it's sad how we are "afraid" to help someone nowadays.

    Leann

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  75. Thanks for sharing this story. Best wishes from your newest follower!

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  76. An enjoyable read. have a wonderful weekend.

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  77. What a lovely story. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  78. Such a sweet story. The cat pictures are adorable. I LOVE your banner.

    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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  79. So enjoyed visiting your blog, and thanks for stopping at Buttercup's. You brought back memories from the 1950s for me, too. The man who would stop by and help my mother was Arthur. This was in Hartford. I never knew anything about where he was from, or how he found us, but my mother was always glad to see him.

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  80. Anne, thank you for your visit to my castle post. I loved the arch too.

    Your story about your grandparents and Cecil was a wonderful read. Such an interesting part of your life. i loved the photo of your grandparents cafe as well. Thank you for sharing with us.
    xo, Jeanne

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  81. My grandparents had a lady who had polio living in their little garage apartment. I used to love to visit her and read her Raggedy Ann books and her Wizard of Oz books. I took her food that my grandmother made too. People came together and shared during hard times then...how I wish it could be that way now. In fact, if you try to help someone, you are considered suspect.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today! It's so nice to "meet" you! I look forward to reading your blog. I love the way you write. It's a pleasure to find a little treasure like your blog!

    Cheery wave!

    Bev (a new follower)

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  82. Anne,

    I loved your story about Cecil. I remember hearing my husband's mother talking about the men coming up to her mom's backdoor for a little food, after having just hopped off a train. Great memories....I love to read about them. Thank you for visiting and following me earlier. I am now a new fan and follower of yours.

    Laurie

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  83. Preciosa, tierna y llena de amor la
    historia.¡Gracias!
    Dios le bendiga. Me ha encantado conocerle.

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  84. That was an awesome story! I remember when my hubby and I were on vacation and an elderly lady stood in line behind us at a restaurant. The host asked if we were together, and we said "no" and were seated. the woman sat alone. On impulse, I asked her to join us, we had a nice conversation, and we paid for her meal. I wish that I could do help the people I see everyday; the woman pushing a stroller along the road in the cold, the man on the bench at the bus stop muttering to himself. As you say, fear often holds me back, and it's a shame to pick and choose who we help, but I suppose even one small occasioal gesture is a step in the right direction.

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  85. What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  86. I loved this little story, Anne!! Very emotional and beautiful..thank you for taking us there. Isn't it ashame that the world has gotten to the point of not trusting! It was never like this when I was a child but now I have become fearful as well.

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  87. I truly enjoyed this story, Anne. Your grandparents were good people, and it was neat to learn more about them and to see them in their cafe.

    Thanks for sharing with us about Cecil. Even in the 90's I used to help, give people rides, etc. but it is just too scary today.

    Kathy M.

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I love your thoughts and comments, and I read each and every one! Sometimes life gets in the way, though, and it takes me a while to respond...Thank you for understanding! ♥...Time is precious, and the time you've taken here is truly appreciated!