Child's plan in the 1920's to live 100 years still progressing
By Shirley Grace

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Shirley Grace is the retired human relations manager of ITW Shakeproof and a former staffer at Russellville High School. She and her husband Joe have lived in Russellville for several years. Her parents, Loy and Kathryn Edwards, now live in Brookhaven near them.
Mother's Day 2010 is the perfect time to honor my mother, Kathryn Edwards, who will celebrate her 90th birthday on August 2 this year. Everything wonderful that will be said of mothers on that day certainly applies to her in double measure, but I want to share one of my favorite stories about her childhood.
She was born on a farm in south Todd County to parents who never missed a church service. The religious fervor of the day prompted sermons heavy on punishment in a lake of fire and not so much on the security of the believer. Little Kathryn logged a lot of pew time and became more and more convinced that she was headed for that horrible place. At this point in the story younger people may wonder why she didn't discuss her fears with her mother or dad, but it seems in the 1920's children were "seen, not heard" so she struggled alone with her fears.
She had two older brothers and the three of them were not immune to spankings when they misbehaved. On one occasion she was first in the punishment line and hung around to giggle and see her brothers get their "switchin," only to be grabbed and get a second one. This only confirmed her conviction that she could never escape "the bad place." She was doomed.
The saying "you can't keep a good girl down" certainly applied to this bright, Scotch-Irish redhead. After considerable thought she came up with a plan and although it did have a downside it seemed far better than being thrown into an eternal fire, so she decided to go with it. Quite simply the idea was to live a long, long time, maybe even a hundred years, and then when the time seemed right she would find a hungry, wild animal, a lion or tiger perhaps and just let him eat her up, bones and all. There would be nothing left of Kathryn to throw in that infernal, eternal fire.
What a relief! The scarcity of wild animals in Todd County was not even a blimp on her contented radar, and it never occurred to her that she would live elsewhere. She was then able to sit calmly in church where she learned of the love of God and his wonderful grace and made a decision to serve him all the days of her life. And she has.

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