The Internal History Of A Man's Life

Submitted By soxshea
Words: 1705
Pages: 7

The internal history of a man's life is much more difficult than the external. First impressions come from a multitude of sources, yet it seems that few of them make themselves felt in after life. My grandmother told me that the first objects that seemed to attract my attention were the leaves of the cotton-wood trees that grew up near the front windows of the upper story of the old white house where we lived in Elyton. They have that peculiar twining motion that belongs to the aspen family. I have a vivid recollection of a scene which must have happened on the cold Saturday, a day ever since referred to in Alabama as the coldest day ever known there.
Our cookTs husband came that evening from the country to visit his wife in town and it seems brought with him a lot of chickens to sell.
When he arrived the chickens were frozen and he laid them in a circle around the fireplace to bring them to life. I did not see the stars fall thoT I was old enough to have had my attention called to it if I had been awake.
1'-1f:iyrst impressions of death were too early to be distinctly remembered. A gentleman boarding at our house was taken sick and died.
I have a faint remembrance of the corpse lying in an upper room covered by a sheet, but that is all. Later on as I passed the kitchen of a neighbor's house on the way to school, I saw through the open door the body of an old Negro man laid out for burial. It was when I was going to school that I first attended a funeral. A young lady had died well known to the pupils and we were dismissed to attend the burial. It vms late in the afternoon and as I had two or three miles to go before night,
I had ample time to think over the scene, and the approaching darkness filled me with dread. What I suffered from that on through fear of death no one knows but HeHwho carne to deliver them who through fear of death have all their lifetime been held in bonda~e.n o
In 1844 our old and faithful cook died. Aunt Phillis had belonged to my mother from childhood and was endeared to us all. She was religious and would sometimes get happy singing at the wash place and shout.
She died somewhat suddenly in a house in the back yard. I could hear her cry out "Fan me! Fan Me, 1! and soon my father came in and said she was dead. My mother was much affected, but I tried to be philosophical and r-amar-ked that it was but one of the two even~ common to all-- birth and death. The next day I went with the hands to an old country grave-yard where some colored people had been buried to help dig the grave. The earth was dry and hard and it took half the long summer day to dig the grave in the red clay. The briars grew thick around the place, there was no enclosure, no stone to mark the grave, and all seemed like annihilation and oblivion. AftBB the burial I played marbles with her only child to comfort him.
When I think of the dreary desolation that death has wrought in the lives of millions of our fellow beings who are without God and without hope in the world, I can but be thankful that the remainder of my life was not spent in that way, under these hardening impressions of death without a future state. But why had I not been taught of Jesus and the Resurrection? Alas, my parents did not fully believe then themselves. "They questioned with themselves what the rising from the dead should mean." The poor Negroes who talked more freely of these things in my hearing were full of superstition, believing in ghosts and dreams and signs of every kind that could harrow the fears and excite the imaginations of their listeners. I was afraid to look in the dark at night.
I would slip off after supper to Uncle BenTs cabin to hear him talk or play the fiddle and he would tell me stories like Uncle Remus till my hair would stand on end with horror and he would have to carry
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me gack to the door of my room because I was afraid to go by myself.
Only then when I was safe in bed with my grandmother could I quiet myself to sleep. If I