I was blessed with a mother and grandmother who were both incredibly generous. The older I get, the more I appreciate the sweet spirits they had and the way they lived their values via their actions—they TOTALLY walked their talk!
In this episode, I tell a quick story about the way their generosity affected the children in their communities.
And I also share information about how the generosity of a whole bunch of Kentucky artists is helping the tornado victims in Western Kentucky via our new “Happy Hollerdays” recording project!
Links Mentioned in Show:
Happy Hollerdays Album
“Unawares” Poem by Emma Lent
Support the show
welcome to the what dreamers do podcast. i’m your host carla govan and appalachian musician flatfoot dancer, mama creative and dreamer from kentucky. i’m on a mission to inspire others to realize their dreams and live their most creative lives. grab your mason jar full of sweet tea or something a little stronger, and pull up a chair, because it’s time to get your dream off. that’s what dreamers do. hey there dreamer. i’m back with you again this week for a short holiday episode. i’ve had a lot of family activities this week. and i hope that you’ve had a lot of fun stuff going on as well. and i’m also getting ready to head out of town for a couple nights for my sixth anniversary with my sweetheart, we are going to the beautiful cumberland falls of kentucky. and i’m looking forward to that. but i didn’t want to leave you guys without any kind of podcast or story or communication this week. so i thought i would share a little story, as well as information about a beautiful project that i’ve been privileged to be part of this month, that is also going to be raising some money for the tornado victims in western kentucky. so i’ll start by saying that, at this point in my life, i am what i would consider more spiritual than religious. i was raised in a very fundamentalist church and religion in eastern kentucky. and i deeply appreciate the spirituality that my family raised me with, and that the especially the women in my family modeled for me, but i’ve kind of forged my own path. and i identify more now as spiritual than religious. so i say all that as a preface, because i’m going to be talking about my mother and grandmother, who were both very religious, christian people. and i’m reminded of a phrase that i’ve heard, you know, seen embroidered on plaques on walls, but it says something to the effect of character is how you act, when nobody’s looking, or characters, how you act when you know, you won’t get caught. and my mother and my grandmother were both very beautiful examples of people who really lived their christian faith in a way that i didn’t even fully appreciate when i was growing up. how generous they were because i was so used to their level of generosity and acceptance and welcoming of strangers and friends and neighbors alike into our home. and i was reminded of this story, because this morning, i was talking to my son, who was pretty young, he was only seven when my mother died. but he just made this passing comment about how kind she was. and i thought that was a very interesting and sweet thing for him to remember, because my mother was an extremely kind person. she was a school teacher. and one of the things that i remember most, that strikes me now when looking back on the things that she would do for the people she loved in her community, is that often, she would bring kids home with her from school, that were her students, you know, maybe she would just bring them home, and they would eat separate with us, or we’d all go get pizza. and i used to wonder, you know, why? why is my mom bringing these kids home from school, it’s kind of annoying, you know, i just want to be with my family. and i realized, in retrospect, it’s because, you know, she just wanted to feed them. she just wanted to take care of him, wanted to give him some attention. and she knew what it was like to grow up poor, without maybe always having enough food to eat. so i was thinking about that. and then i had to think back to my grandmother, who also very much lived the belief of taking care of everybody, especially feeding everybody, and what an important way of loving people feeding them is.
so my grandmother, she was born in 1998. and she was a generation that would have a few poems to recite. so if you’d be at a party or you’d be at somebody’s house, and you needed entertainment, everybody would take turns reciting their pieces. and she had several of my grandmother really loved poetry in bursts. but one of her big reciting pieces was called the masters coming. and it was all about this woman who heard the master was coming, and she wanted to get ready to entertain this divine one visitor and she spent all day cleaning her house. and during the course of the day, three different people come to her door and ask for help in some way, and she turns them all away, because of course, she’s getting ready for the master to come and visit. and at the end of the day, she finds out that the master must have visited somebody else’s house. but when she asks him, he says, i came to your house three times, and you turn me away each time. she loved that poem so much, and she recited it many times throughout my childhood. she also lived by that she lived by those words. one thing i really love about granny is that pretty much she regarded everybody as her potential children, grandchildren, i could have a friend over or we’d have some neighbors visiting. and she’d say something like, well, he’s not mine, but i’ll claim him. and that attitude of just the more the merrier was a part of her the very fabric of her being. and i strive to emulate her. i don’t know if i’m pretty sure i’m not as generous as she is. but it’s a beautiful example to have in her in my mother. and i’ll share one more little story with you that my aunt told me, my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister told me after my grandmother died, and of course, i always knew that my grandmother was generous, like i’m saying, but my great aunt told me the story that i’d never heard. so my great aunt had moved to florida, and her husband had become very wealthy dealing in real estate. they were just very humble country, people from the holler. and they went to the right place at the right time. well, it’s probably a another whole story, but i think my uncle elder had to leave town. not sure exactly the details on that maybe it involved a gunfight. anyway, he wound up in florida, and they did very, very well made a great fortune in real estate, in i think, the 20s and 30s. but even though they had all this money, my great aunt lizzie would ride the greyhound bus back up to clay county, kentucky to oh, anita to come visit my grandmother and all of her children. so my grandmother had a living kids. and as you can imagine, even though they weren’t necessarily all home in the house at the same time, because the older ones were moving out as the younger ones, were still being born. it took a lot to put food on the table. and my grandmother and grandfather basically just farmed, my grandfather was a preacher, but that does not really pay a lot of money. an itinerant preacher that doesn’t necessarily have a regular congregation or regular church. so they didn’t always have a lot of food. and you know, my mother had told me about that. and i knew about that. but my great aunt lizzie told me the story about my grandmother, she said, there was this woman that lived down the road. and i can’t remember the euphemisms that that aunt lizzie use, but it was something to the effect of, she was a woman of ill repute, you know, perhaps a lady of the night. and i honestly don’t know what the truth is. but she had a bad reputation in 1920s, rural kentucky. so that probably wasn’t very hard to do. but apparently, she was not always able to feed her children, and maybe wasn’t always there. perhaps there was some neglect going on. and my great aunt lizzie said that many nights when my grandmother was fixing dinner and setting the table, she would sit places for that woman’s children. and so in addition to all the kids that my grandmother had of her own that she was feeding, there would be these extra kids there. and so the the beans and the cornbread and the titers or whatever they were eaten had to stretch even further. and my aunt lizzie said, i asked her, i said, ali, how come you trying to feed these, that woman’s children when you can’t hardly even feed your own? and she said, my grandmother just told her. i believe that’s what the lord would want me to do. i can’t leave and talk about it without getting choked up, y’all.
my grandmother had many favorite bible verses, but probably the one from matthew was one of her favorites. and that’s the one that the poem reference the poem would end with, in comforting not the least of these you have failed to comfort me. and of course, the verse from matthew, i don’t remember the number but it says truly i tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. my grandmother lived by that. and that leads me perfectly into the little announcement that i wanted to make. i recently was privileged to be part of a live show called happy holidays. that features artists like my morning jacket ben so lee daniel martin more sonora may silas house and jason kyle howard, jani bozos fernando moya, myself, my daughter zoe barrett, arlo barnett, heather summers, so many talented artists came together to create this series of live shows, and also put together an album featuring artists from the show, as well as lots of other artists from across the state. this album is full of new releases, besides rare cuts, live recordings and things that you won’t hear anywhere else. it’s over 50 tracks. and right now, you can buy it for download on bandcamp. i’m going to put the link in the show notes, you can also find it at my instagram at kentucky, carla, and also on my facebook page, then i’m going to put the link in the podcast show notes. and all proceeds go toward western kentucky tornado relief, we had some really devastating weather in kentucky and the tornadoes absolutely destroyed. the town of mayfield, there was a lot of damage in bowling green and several other counties in western kentucky. and these people are going to be rebuilding for a long time it was it was a really big disaster. and so this is our way as artists of helping out of contributing to the relief effort. and so it’s a win win for you because you can go download and get a bunch of awesome music and know that the money that you’ve put toward that music is going to go straight to the western kentucky tornado relief fund. so thanks so much for joining me for this little inspirational, hopefully inspirational story. and it’s just on my mind, we all need to be good to each other. and i’m going to try to remember that everyone i come into contact with is a representative of the divine and somebody who’s worthy of my care and concern and regard and kindness. and i hope you all have a wonderful holidays, however you celebrate it. i hope that you get to relax and unwind and be with people you love. not just for the holiday season but all the time. and i’m so glad that i get to connect with you in all the ways that we do through music through dancing through this podcast. please feel free to send me a message anytime i’d love to hear from you. and until next week, have a good one and keep dreaming.
thank you so much for joining me this week. if you want to make sure you never miss an episode. please hit subscribe wherever you’re listening now. or visit my website to get on my email list at www.carlagover.com when you sign up, you’ll instantly receive my mountain mama digital care package, a bundle of music and videos to help you wring every drop of the heart of life. you’ll even find a dance lesson as well as my granny’s cornbread recipe with new goodies being added all the time. i’ll see you next thursday on the what dreamers do podcast
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