When I was about 5 or 6 years old, my parents and I traveled by train from our home in Black Mountain to my father’s parents’ home in Statesville.  My dad’s two brothers and their families also lived in Statesville.  All fourteen of us gathered for a meal at the grandparents’ home.  There was not one table big enough to seat all of us, but they had two medium-size tables which were put together and covered with a big tablecloth.  One of the tables had a design feature of a few inches of the four corners being cut off, making an irregular octagon.  The other table had square corners.

1947 BlumFor some reason, they had me eat at the junction of the two tables, and when I set my filled plate down, it went through the hidden gap, hit the floor, and broke.  My mother fussed at me for being careless.  I ran to the kitchen crying.  My sweet grandfather came in there and whispered to me, “I never liked that old plate, anyway.”

I was fine then.  I have remembered his kindness to me all my life.  This was the basis for my strong belief — people are more important than things.

More stories by Marie Craig.