Monday, July 19, 2010

The Beginning

It all started on a hot May day near Uvalda, Georgia. (No, I wasn't there. How do I know it was hot, you ask? What authority do I have? Well, I spent 24 Mays IN south Georgia, so I would consider myself an expert in heat and humidity.) Anyhow, a bouncy baby boy was added to the family of Kesley and Henrietta Crabb. They'd already had to bury one son (Eschol Mervin Crabb) who died from diphtheria. While Mrs. Crabb (let's call her "Ma Crabb" from this point forward) was burying one son, another was on the way. His name was Kesley "Lanier" Crabb. But back to the story at hand... Ma Crabb gave birth to Edsel. His name was supposed to be Edsel Delacey Crabb, but the doctor neglected to put the baby's middle name on his birth certificate. To this day Edsel denies his middle name being "Delacey." I, however, tend to lean more on Ma Crabb's word. (And if you wonder about the name Delacey for a boy, it's a family name. Ma Crabb had a brother named Delacey, nicknamed "Lacey" for short.) I'm not exactly sure how Lanier felt about having a little brother. It never occurred to me to ask him while he was living. Almost three years later, a little sister, Lillian "Winona" Crabb, was born. Seeing as how Edsel was so young when Winona was born, I don't rightly reckon he had much of an opinion on having a little sister. Unless you count the normal jealous middle children have when they aren't the youngest anymore...
I don't know too terribly much about Edsel's formative years. I do know, however, that Edsel was born with a brown birthmark on his chest. Ma Crabb called it his "chocolate candy," seeing as how she craved chocolate candy when she was expecting him. Makes sense to me.
When Edsel was about 10 years old his daddy bought a piece of property, about 50 acres, that is today known as Doodle Hill. They farmed this land, and Edsel went to school in a little town called Alston. As a child Edsel did pretty much as Edsel pleased. One day he was given the chore of sweeping up under the two oak trees that sat right in front of the house. Ma Crabb's youngest sister, Frankie, known to her nieces and nephews as "Auntie" (southernized as "Annie") was visiting at the time. She found Edsel off by himself squalling like somebody had beaten him so badly he couldn't sit down. (This was not, in fact, the case.) "What's the matter, honey?" she asked. (This has little, if any, embellishment.) "I," sniff sniff, "I have to," sniff sniff, "sweep the yard." Honestly? At least his work was in the shade! Regardless, Auntie told him not to worry, that she would help him. What this REALLY meant was that Auntie would do the work for him.