The Pearson family claim Lee Pope as their home place and rightfully so... they have lived on, farmed on and loved on this land for 5 generations. I discovered this week that one of our "FAMILY" members call this same red dirt home as well... Ms. Nettie was born and raised here in Lee Pope. Today, she still lives in the same house where her daddy grew up, and where she was born and raised. Her father moved to Lee Pope as a child when his father came to work for John Pearson. If you follow any of our history, you will recognize that name. John Pearson was Mr. Al's grandfather. So Ms. Nettie's connection to the Pearson family, dates back to the 2nd generation. The generational connection continued with Ms. Nettie's father working for Mr. Al's dad (Lawton) and then in later years for Mr. Al. Her uncles, Homer and Jessie were valuable employees of Pearson Farm and most of her siblings have worked here as well. If you are not from the south, some of the words and phrases Ms. Nettie uses to describe her childhood and work here on the Farm may be unheard of but for me, they are like music to my ears. We talked about how as a young girl, she helped her dad and uncles set out, gas, and hoe the trees. With her siblings and cousins, she picked up roots in the orchards, helped thin peaches, pick peaches and pick up pecans. She really worked at Pearson Farm before she knew she was working, it was just a part of her life. After finishing school, Ms. Nettie went to work in a clothing manufacturing business. She spent many years there, but when the factories closed she found herself looking for work back on the Farm. She soon found herself again working for Mr. Al and her brother, Fred along with a young man who had been just a tow headed child the last time she worked on the Farm. While she'd been away, Lawton had grown up, gone off to college, married and come back home to work on the Farm. The generational connection continuing….. 12 years after coming back, Ms. Nettie spends her days working on the grading line during peach and pecan seasons. She's home, she's with her “FAMILY”…... Over the years, her parents have passed away along with many of her siblings but Ms. Nettie continues laying her roots down in Lee Pope and make no mistake, those roots run deep. I am learning more and more that family doesn't have to share the same name, the same blood or even the same color of skin. Family shares the same heart. Ms. Nettie's heart lies in these orchards, on these roads and inside these walls just as the Pearson's do. Peach Season has started off at a sprinters pace. We are running hard and fast so I asked Ms. Nettie if it was difficult to work like that. I will forever remember her response, and so will leave you with her words….”Honey, the Lord owns my steps, and I just pray he will give me the strength everyday.” We love you Ms. Nettie!
Photo credits (Ashlee Culverhouse Photography)