Jones of Old Lincoln (Chapter 3, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 3

Mr. Jones began our next visit with the self-evident observation that "Father's death changed everything." This interview took place later that afternoon as we sat on a bench in the Stone Bridge Park Visitor's Center site on Taylor Parkway, just east of US 431/231 and a couple of hundred yards north of the Elk River.

When Mr. Jones had excused himself from our morning session, I'd told him of what felt to me like a mystical place-the memorial park in honor of the Old Stone Bridge. Occupying on a few acres of land where small, 1940s, working-class houses on tiny lots had been during my high school years, this little park had walking paths and a small and incorrect replica of the bridge it memorialized spanning a reflective pool. There were picnic shelters with tables here and there.

With no other mortals nearby to concern me, this visit promised to be a low stress experience for me. The air was light with a hint of crispness. The contrast of colors was vivid. Fall leaves drifted erratically from trees to the ground. Robin's egg blue skies were gifted by huge cotton balls of white clouds across the southern vista. It was a normal October afternoon in south-central Tennessee.

My specter continued his life story. "Will would not be twenty-one for seven months when father died. When the will was probated by the Giles County Court, the presiding judge assumed guardianship of Will and all us children. Since Will would inherit the farm in but a half year or so, what was to become of me as fourth son was of notable concern. If not to the judge, it was to me. I was an unpromising agriculturalist. My skills lay in other pursuits, I suppose, but those were a mystery to the people who had power over my future, as well as to me.

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