I was only six.
When the bleeding stopped we walked back over that rocky land, kicking stones till they hurt our toes, almost laughing, almost crying. "Don't let those rocks hurt you, Tizzy. Every time you fall pick yourself up and start walking."
How did he know that I'd hit rock bottom again and again?
I needed to talk to him recently. I wanted to show him, that in spite of all of my scars from falling, I could still laugh, but our father didn't hear me. I cried longer and louder than usual and even threw a rock towards heaven. In the wind I thought I heard a voice, "Close." I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't.
Days passed, I ached, but couldn't laugh.
Friends led me home to Miami. We placed flowers on the
|MHS Class of 65 friends.|
As last we drove to the land where I grew up. The skies were gray as Jack and I walked through the tall grasses, our eyes following the tree lines of the old golf course. I kicked
|Miami Golf and Country Club (closed)|
"I'm missing something," I told my husband, "but I don't know what."
Back in the car we drove. Little by little I regained my
bearings, off the highways onto graveled roads, following fence rows lined with honeysuckle, sliding through winding S curves. From Narcissa to Galena, I searched.
Then I saw it, something that had been right before my eyes all along. The rocks that lined the old town of Galena. The reddish orange, gray and brown speckled rocks that were dug from the earth that became the bedrock for churches, fences, cemeteries, homes, lives, and filling
stations that lined the old Route 66 and Route 69. The rocks that my father pulled from the land and used to build a fence; the rocks that my grandfather and great grandfather cut through to mine the lead and zinc. Those rocks were the "bedrocks that build character" as my mother often told me.
At the Tri-State Landmark I jumped out of the pickup and like a child kicked the gravel, climbed up over the bar ditch searching, digging, and kicking for just the right rock. "Here," my husband said, "Here's a good one." I kicked it just to make sure. "Yes, that's it." Then my foot gave way on the slippery embankment, and I landed on bedrock. Stunned and dirty I looked around and began to laugh. "Thanks Dad, I needed that"
While laughing I realized that my parents were always there for me. They were my bedrock. Now my husband is my bedrock. He catches me when I fall.
Letty Stapp Watt
Johnie Stapp's daughter and historian
**For pictures of the mineral Galena rock (not my childhood memories of the rocks that built fences) check out this website Galena rock