Today is August 17th, and it is Twillia Garvin’s birthday. Twillia was a lovely southern woman, a hard working, resourceful wife, a loving mother, and a treasured grandmother. She was born a long time ago, but her influence has persevered through the years for those that loved and knew her. It was not long after the Civil War when her parents loaded up from Lumpkin County Georgia and headed west to Texas. Of course, I have often wondered why they chose this part of Texas to settle in, the flat, dry, almost treeless land of opportunity. The correct answer is that for all its simplicity, the part they picked was fairly good farming land for that time. Texas climate, in general, is a mixed bag that has always ranged from one extreme to the other. I have a very few treasured copies of letters that my grandmother wrote, and in one particularly bleak winter at some time in the 1920s, she describes a winter so cold that the cows were freezing to death in the pastures. So winter extremes along with this crazy summer heat is the place they choose as home.
Twillia was born in Texas and grew up in a family of girls. She married Henry Dixon Dunlap, and switched her residence to an even more desolate farm further west and lived a quiet life there helping my grandfather salvage what he could from that stubborn earth. They had only two sons and they were a year apart in age. World War II was on the horizon when my father signed up to go to war and his younger brother tagged along to do the same. The problem was that my Uncle Dale was not old enough to enlist, prompting my grandmother to fire off a letter to a Texas official referring to the federal government who apparently would not release Uncle Dale, as “The biggest liars I’ve ever heard!”
My grandmother was over sixty-years-old when I was born, so she was truly a grandma and not the chic, over-the-top stylish 40-something, 50-something Glammas that we have today. I was only ten-years-old when we said goodbye; she had been called upward to enjoy a better existence, one without farm duty, raising two rambunctious boys, having to worry about cows in the snow or challenging the government to a war of words. My time with her was cut short, but I treasure those few years we had together and this day has always been special for me. Hats off to angels everywhere, and to kind, spunky folks that go about their daily lives and help make the world a bit better for the rest of us.