— By LARRY M. JONES
I would suggest that family, faith and fortune may be three of the most defining facets of our existence. They may provide the greatest influence on determining who we are and what we are to become.
Of these key elements, we have at least some control over our faith and our fortune, but with regard to family, Popeye’s famous saying, “I yam what I yam,” might say it best. Or more correctly, you are what you are.
As a member of an early pioneering family of Parker County, I have always had a keen interest in my ancestors, and how they helped shape our nation. With my Grandpa Jones living just across our pasture, I spent considerable time listening to stories about early frontier times and my earliest ancestors. He was extremely proud of his Jones heritage, and through our association, he passed along this pride in family heritage to me. I was very fortunate to have shared this time with him learning of our family during his waning years.
Another important way I leaned of my Jones heritage was through our annual Jones Cemetery workings. Each year during the summer months, large numbers of the family would gather at “the graveyard,” as we called it, and do requisite maintenance and cleaning of the cemetery. With power lawn mowers still well into the future, we hoed the grass and weeds around each gravesite instead of mowing. In addition, we repaired the fence, trimmed trees, and cleared any debris that had collected.
Most important of our activities, we visited with our family members, many who lived far away and saw only on rare occasions. One of my most vivid memories of these relatives was that of seeing my great uncle Charley Jones who lived directly across the Brazos River south of the cemetery. However, with the river serving as a barrier, we saw his family infrequently. I will never forget his trademark black Stetson hat. There was none in the community that could rival it.
In addition to these annual gatherings at the cemetery, we also had larger family reunions with many branches of the family represented, often held at Holland’s Lake. For whatever reason, these annual gatherings began to diminish by the 1970s. With a gradual passing of the old guard, younger volunteers to organize these gatherings were apparently too busy.
Ten years ago, two of Uncle Charley’s granddaughters, Linda Hutchinson and Glenda Cooper, and I put together a Jones Reunion held at the Brock Community Center. It was a resounding success at that time with over a hundred relatives attending. Recently, we decided that it was time for another. On Saturday, April 27, at 11 a.m., we will again gather at the Brock Community Center to eat enormous amounts of brisket, enjoy potluck side dishes and desserts, brag about our grandchildren, and renew family ties so important to our being. Several family members from out of state have already committed to attend.
As I mentioned before, we can have significant control over our spirituality and our monetary fortunes, but our heritage seems to be pretty well set from birth. Although I’m proud of my own lineage, I wouldn’t fight it too hard if Alice Walton or Warren Buffet wanted to adopt me.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.