Tennessee Mountain Stories

Mountain Family

Family is a precious thing.  I’ll tell you right up front here that I’ve got tears in my eyes as I try to share these thoughts with you.  Some of my friends have been giving me a pretty hard time lately about all of the family reunions I’ve been to this summer.  I wouldn’t give up a single one of them!

Last Saturday the Key cousins got together as they’ve been doing every September for nearly thirty years.  The faces change some from year to year either because life just gets in the way or sickness or the passing of a generation.  But every face in the group is precious – they are family and to mountain-folk, family is pretty much second only to salvation in importance. 

Melissa Copeland.jpg

This week we had a 92 year old cousin (she’s seated in the very center of the group picture).  While Velma has suffered from a stroke in the past few years, she still walked in on her own and beamed at every one of us.  And I got to visit my best friend from elementary school.   Melissa and I were in school from kindergarten through twelfth grade and I promised I wouldn’t tell how many years ago that was.

John Wesley Key and Sarah Anne Key

John Wesley Key and Sarah Anne Key

John Wesley Key and Sarah Anne Key birthed nine children from about 1883 till 1900.  Of course none of their children were with us, but three of their grandchildren were there.  Velma, who I’ve already mentioned, as well as Betty and Freda were there.  Eight great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren as well as four folks that were wise enough to marry into this great family.  When you see extended family like this, it makes me think of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:17, “….I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore…” I’m sure John and Sarah never dreamed they’d still be remembered and celebrated nearly 100 years after their passing or that they would be represented by so many descendants.

I’ve said this before and if you stick around the blog, you’re gonna’ hear me say it again.  Go to your family reunions, don’t lose touch with your cousins.  Family is an incredible blessing – even if you can’t identify with everyone of them.  Even if some of your family doesn’t quite do things the way you want, they are still family.  And you will never influence those you never know.