Lett's Set A Spell

Born on the Fourth of July
Jul. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

While hanging out with Grandpa (Puzie Lett) at the country store, I learned a lot about life. For one thing, Grandpa had his moments of genius. Now, most of the time he was a stubborn know-it-all, but once in a blue moon he offered wise reflections. Sometimes he’d rear back like a restless horse and say excitedly, “Now listen to this, Sandy Lynn, you mark my word, there’s a price to be paid for anything worth having.” 

While Grandpa loved being captain of his own ship — the sole proprietor of Lett’s Grocery and Filling Station in Buckhorn community — owning a business wasn’t just about listening to people “shoot the breeze.” Providing the place for community gatherings carried with it responsibility — meeting the needs of farmers and neighbors and passersby by offering the finer things in country life. While folks partook of the “dranks,” “Nabs,” hoop cheese and cookies, and, of course, the basics like bread, milk, cigarettes and gas, it “weren’t” the refreshments and supplies that local yokels enjoyed so much. It was the supply of country folks who gathered there and the abundance of socializing and gossiping available. Grandpa held down the fort “pert-near” 16 hours a day at this center of community and communion.

One thing Grandpa loved was trivia, and long before the game “Trivial Pursuit” became popular Grandpa was quizzing everyone about this and that. For every customer he had a joke that they were required to laugh at whether or not it was funny and, of course, some advice for everyone whether they wanted to hear it or not. Often he had pearls of wisdom to share, though sometimes it was hard to find them among the constant gabbing. 

GRANDPA LOVED everything related to patriotic holidays and would get excited talking about the men, including his son Bud (my Daddy) who fought in World War II. He would also tell me about stories related to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. He could barely pronounce Declaration of Independence but he knew what it was, and he never took it for granted. He especially liked a faded document, called Facts about the Declaration of Independence, written by “author unknown,” which he hung on the wall in the country store. The tattered piece of paper told about the ill fates of many of the men who signed the document on July 4, 1776 outlining stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.

The paper stated:

“These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing rebels. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: ‘For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.’

“They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn’t fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. Remember: freedom is never free!” 

The Declaration of Independence was signed by people who risked their lives so Grandpa and I could be free, and so each of us in America could live like we were born on the Fourth of July ... because we were!

AlexSandra Lett is a professional speaker and the author of “Natural Living, From Stress to Rest;” “A Timeless Place, Lett’s Set a Spell at the Country Store;” “Timeless Moons, Seasons of the Fields and Matters of the Heart;” “Timeless Recipes and Remedies, Country Cooking, Customs, and Cures;” and “Coming Home to my Country Heart, Timeless Reflections about Work, Family, Health, and Spirit.” Lett can be reached at (919) 258-9299 or LettsSetaSpell@aol.com.