PERREAULT Magazine NOV | DEC 2016 - Page 54

Can you tell me more about your grandmother?

EH: I drape my Bible with a beautiful pearl necklace, a gift from my grandmother, every day. It originally was a gift to her from Elvis Presley, her nephew, so it was special in many ways. She taught me about how a pearl was formed from a speck of grit and was polished for just the right time to be pried from its shell. I, too, was polished. I know that I had grit to do whatever I wanted to do in life. “Your life will take many rides,” she said, “Some of the curves will have mud holes, but you can always wash off the dirt. Remember, when I'm not around, there will be another ride.”

I felt the fondness and love that Edie has for her late grandmother.

EH: My grandparents owned a sawmill farm in Russellville, Alabama. I was born Edith Blackburn and grew up with my three brothers and a sister on a farm in Burnout, Alabama in the northern part of the state. A place you can barely find on a map.

Edie smiled remembering herself as a child.

SK: Your novella titled "The Last Christmas Ride" is a true story of sisterly love for your three brothers. What was the most memorable event in your childhood?

Edie thought about my question.

EH: There were many precious moments in our lives. These days

were filled with horseback riding, climbing to the top of a nearby Indian mound to dream about the future. Every year, before Christmas Eve, we would ride to the far side of the 40 acres ranch and bring home a Christmas tree. We always sang Christmas carols while on our horses, Trigger, Spotted Cloud, and Polly.

I listened as Edie continued.

EH: My two brothers, David and Phillip, were killed in separate car accidents ten years apart. My middle brother, Terry, developed an aneurism in the middle of his brain and later a tumor. Together, my mother, Sue, and my sister, Kim, and I cared for him for seven years. One year, a few days before Christmas, Terry asked me if I would help him to take one last ride, and it turned out to be his very last ride. Before he lost his speech, he asked me to share the Blackburn boys’ story of a life of grit and the importance of showing kindness especially in times of need.

The Blackburn brothers, Phillip, David, and Terry who inspired Edie Hand and her many good works.

Photo by: Edie Hand