To Edna Joyce Ritter Davis on her 90th Birthday

Ethereal is how you must have looked
with that snow-white hair as you cried
Daddy, please don’t leave me. And your young
widowed father took you by the hand
Never to send you off to live with another family again.
And so from three years old you became the woman
of the house to your daddy and 3 brothers.

Just seventeen years old, you left your
father’s house to devote your life to a husband much
Older than you. You left your oh-so-familiar homeland
to go up north to the land of
Yankees. A Tennessee farm girl in a factory-filled,
melting pot of cultures. You made your
Confession of faith soon after. Your own personal
decision to follow Jesus forever.
Even in the darkest days.

Rita came first. Your feisty first born. No wonder
you waited nearly five years for the next.
Intelligence, quite high, marked your second.
Michael Lynn, the ‘rare’ name that you chose.
Too soon, if your husband’s claimed master
plan is true, came your third. Karen the witty.
Then you’d line up the 3 after church,
‘Eeny meeny miney, and there ain’t going to be no Mo’.
Except there was. Nearly five years later,
according to his plan, here was Kay. The wanderer.
Rarin’ to go describes the final one, five years later.
James Lester. Full of life. Gone too soon.

Davis is the name, he’d say. You took his name 72
years ago. Until his death you did not part.
And now you are surrounded by children, grands,
and greats because of him. Back on the
Very land from which he took you all those years ago.
It has been quite a life. The motherless child became an amazing mother, fighting for the
Souls of her children. The only thing that matters.

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