Christmas 1971/Gene Autry/ & Daddy

Haven's 1971 Christmas

Haven’s 1971 Christmas

 

Christmas 1971

What a haul that year! I was 5 years old. I am forgetting quite a bit, but I got a Hot Wheels Track set, a cat clock that wagged its tail and blinked its eyes, a portable record player, and records just to name a few things. One of my records was the album you see today, Gene Autry: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer And Other Christmas Favorites. Several days ago I heard Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry, and my heart sank a bit when a wave of childhood memories of my father and Christmas flooded my heart and soul.

My father, Oliver Haven Caylor, truly loved giving us presents and seeing us enjoy our Christmases during childhood. He loved cowboys, and he loved Christmas, so it was natural and a pleasure for him to buy me this album. My heart still misses him so much especially during Christmas. He passed on May 28, 1982: Three weeks after my 16th birthday.

It just so happened that Carter and Ammon heard Gene’s version with me, and I told them about my album and a few words about their Papa Caylor. He would have such fun with these two!

Christmas Nostalgia: Rudolph, Gene Autry, and Daddy

Christmas 1971

What a haul that year! I was 5 years old. I am forgetting quite a bit, but I got a Hot Wheels Track set, a cat clock that wagged its tail and blinked its eyes, a portable record player, and records just to name a few things. One of my records was the album you see today, Gene Autry: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer And Other Christmas Favorites. Several days ago I heard Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry, and my heart sank a bit when a wave of childhood memories of my father and Christmas flooded my heart and soul. My father truly loved giving us presents and seeing us enjoy our Christmases during childhood. He loved cowboys, and he loved Christmas, so it was natural and a pleasure for him to buy me this album. My heart still misses him so much especially during Christmas.

It just so happened that Carter and Ammon heard Gene’s version with me, and I told them about my album and a few words about their Papa Caylor. He would have such fun with these two!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ara3-hDH6I

Cousin Linda/Daddy’s Birthday

Daddy’s Birthday

Once again, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to meet a family member and do some good chatting…both online and phone. My 2nd cousin’s name is Linda Kirk. She is 8 years younger than my father, but she spent A LOT of time with Daddy, Nanny, & Granddaddy.

It’s such a treat to hear her perspective of Varnell, Georgia during the 1950s with my father. My father had a wonderful (no, nothing is ever perfect as we all know) childhood with Linda, her mother, Madeline, her father, Charles, and Linda’s brother, David. As has been told by Nanny Caylor and Linda, there was hardly a weekend that went by (for years and years mind you)  when the Caylors and the Kirks were not together.

Well, today is Daddy’s birthday (he would have been 73), and I know that Linda is like me and filled with wonderful memories of a wonderful man, my father. However, I’m envious of her because she got to know him as her “big brother” cousin who knew each other as human beings so to speak. Knowing my father as a human being was something I only got to know for a little while, and it was still that “friendship/father” relationship.  Linda and I each have our own set of blessings that came from knowing Oliver Haven Caylor….cousin to her…father to me. Happy birthday, Daddy!

Daddy would be 73 today!!

Dual Memorial Day 2012

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Dual Purpose Memorial Day

To our Soldiers Past, Present, and Future:

Words cannot say “Thank you!” enough to our service men and women from the past, present, and future. There have been many of my family members who have fought for the colonies, fought for both the Union and the Confederacy, fought in World War I, and served in World War II, and we have several who have served in peace time as well. Both of these men are dead, but my Granddaddy (Troy Caylor) was drafted into the Army in the spring of 1945, did not do combat (praise the Lord), but helped in the United State’s Japanese occupation from 1945-1946. His brother-in-law, Charles Kirk, was drafted earlier in World War II, entered the Navy, and served on the now famous-floating museum, the Intrepid .

My May 28 Memorial Day

I had mixed emotions on Sunday evening. I could not decide what to write for Memorial Day 2012 because it was a unique day. I chose to write about Memorial Day 2012 the day after the holiday. 

This year’s Memorial Day was May 28. It’s a national holiday. My family and I have another “memorial day” on May 28: The anniversary death of my father. Yesterday, my father died 30 years ago. My goodness, it was 30 years ago! I can still hear him talk, hear him laugh, and call my name. For years, I dreamed about him, and he still appears in my dreams but not as frequently. One positive thing about a parent dying young (he was 42) and unexpectedly is that the parent is always “ageless” and frozen in time. I did not have to see my father become old, suffer from any disease, lose his memory, or lose his physical strength. Until the day I die or lose MY memory, he will be my 42 year old father. As I’ve said before, I don’t feel sad for myself, because I had a wonderful father, and we had a great relationship (NO REGRETS), but I do wish Ammon and Carter could experience his grandfatherly love, sense of humor, Christian love, and love of life. However, I’m glad our Papa Caylor Angel can see us in heaven.

 

Daddy’s Birthday (September 19, 1939)

He was born in Varnell, Georgia on Tuesday September 19,
1939. He was the first of only two children born to Troy and Naomi Caylor. He was
born at his Nanny Alexander’s house (Nanny, Granddaddy, and Daddy lived with
Nanny Alexander until January of 1941). I forgot the name of Daddy’s doctor,
but Nanny Alexander was in the room when Daddy was born. During the whole
pregnancy, Nanny knew in her heart and prayers that she was going to have a
girl. She had grown up with two younger sisters and was surrounded by girly
things for so long, she just knew she was having a girl…God had a surprise!

When Nanny woke up from the anesthesia and learned she had a
boy, she had a split second of disappointment. She even had Daddy’s name picked
out as Hannah Rebekah (both from the Bible); however, when she heard the news,
she, of course, had to give up all of her plans. Knowing Nanny the way my Nanny
Alexander and Granddaddy did, they knew she wouldn’t mind if THEY named him (I’m
serious. They knew she wouldn’t mind, and she didn’t). While Nanny was sleeping and Nanny Alexander and Granddaddy gave Daddy his first bath, they named him Oliver Haven Caylor: Oliver from Nanny’s father, William Oliver Alexander, and Haven from
Granddaddy’s father, Luther Haven Caylor.

I could keep writing and writing about Daddy, but emotionally it’s kind of
difficult, so I will say just one more thing. From 1979 until his death on May
28, 1982, my father and I shared a multiplicity of wonderful times together. My
favorite times that I have stored in my heart were when he and I traveled back
and forth to church together and discussed the Lord, the Bible, school, life in general, and Coonhounds. It was such a wonderful and fulfilling experience having Daddy
as both my earthly father AND brother in Jesus Christ. That precious bond is
something that death and time cannot erase. Happy Birthday in heaven, Daddy.

Father’s Day

Georgie Caylor, Oliver Haven Caylor, & Haven William Caylor

Georgie Caylor, Oliver Haven Caylor, & Haven William Caylor

Father’s Day

I’ve got to convert the pictures of my father to JPGs so I
can put them on the computer. I will write just a bit about my father today,
and hopefully you all will see him in the very near future. He was Oliver Haven
Caylor (September 19, 1939 to May 28, 1982). He died three weeks after my 16th
birthday. This is my 30th Father’s Day without him. He was such a
wonderful father and Christian example. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and
he was always making up words or changing arrangements to popular songs:
something I’ve found myself doing the past 30 years too.

He enjoyed hunting, but his passion was fishing. While most
of my friends spent family vacations at the beach or going to the mountains, we
spent family time while bass fishing around North Georgia and Southeast
Tennessee lakes. My absolute most precious memories of my father are of him and
me raising two Black and Tan Coonhounds (Copper and Chief) and teaching them to
hunt squirrels. He and I had the same love of the outdoors, and we combined it
with my hound dogs to spend our “father and son time” together. I dearly miss
him, but it is such a blessing that the healing love of God and the Holy Spirit
coupled with time heals and fills the empty spaces the death of a loved one
leaves.

I was so blessed to have a father who taught me love and
respect for myself, my family, the environment, human-kind, and most
importantly love and respect for God through Jesus Christ. My Daddy was
absolutely wonderful, and I love him very much. Happy Father’s Day up there in
heaven, Daddy!

Nanny Caylor: Birthday

Nanny Caylor

Her full name was Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor.  She was born May 15, 1918. May 15 was also her father’s birthday who was born in 1875. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, but she grew up in Atlanta. Her father worked for Southern Railroad as an engineer, and he was killed outside the tunnel at Braswell Mountain near Rockmart, Georgia when his train exploded in June of 1935. Nanny, her mother, and sisters moved to Varnell, Georgia where her mother (My Nanny Alexander) was born and raised in January of 1936.

Two years later, she married my grandfather, Troy Dewitt Caylor, and 10 months later my father, Oliver Haven Caylor was born. Their second son was born in January of 1943. She outlived her parents, her sisters, her husband, and my father. There was a part of her soul that was like Naomi from the Bible especially when Biblical Naomi told the people to call her Mara which meant “God has dealt bitterly with me.” However, she leaned on Jesus Christ as her strength and her redeemer and never forsook him. She was a great mother, a spectacular grandmother, an exemplary Christian lady, and a great friend to me.

She was my Bible study confidant, and we loved to talk about world traveling and world events. We also shared good short stories, classical literature, and she was a walking treasure trove of family, oral history. I could listen to her talk about our ancestors and her childhood forever. Literally, we could sit up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. simply looking at pictures, family Bibles, or family heirlooms. We had to make ourselves go to bed. When my father died in 1982, she and I leaned on each other in our bereavement. I was so glad God let me have her for three more years. Nanny died on August 10, 1985. She has been dead for over 25 years now, and I still dearly miss her. It is also a treat when I dream about her and her house, but, of course, a part of my heart is lonesome when I awake and she is only, once again, in my memory and in those dreams.

I cannot wait to share all these things plus tons more with Carter and Ammon. Nanny will live on through them. Happy Birthday up there in Heaven, Nanny. We love you!

Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (Photo Date: March 1982)