Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

The Importance of a Close Family

Two weeks ago, our family’s world turned upside down. My 7-year old granddaughter was taken to the hospital Emergency Room. Four days later, she began a treatment program for Leukemia – a total surprise for all of us. Certainly, that’s the bad news; however, my point here is the difference a close family makes in a tragedy such as this.

ꔷ The other grandchildren are spending many days and nights here with us as our son and daughter-in-law stay at the hospital.
ꔷ A blood donation plan is being set up among family and church so that she will receive only known no-vax blood.
ꔷ Financial matters are being put into place to handle what will become a very expensive process.
ꔷ At church on the following morning, much of the congregation gathered up at the altar to pray for her and strength for the family.

Imagine how much harder this would be if not for the fact that our two sons and their families live within about 4 miles of us; that we have a very strong and close church family; that our extended family are all within a 15 minute drive and ready to help in any way they can.

Pulling up stakes and moving across the country “for a better job” has become routine, but that is very short term thinking. Having a strong, stable family, all living near each other, can be a life saver. That is how our ancestors did it. We need to learn from them. Family First!

I try to keep The Southern Agrarian tightly focused on Southern Agrarianism, in the broadest sense; this is, perhaps, an exception. Now for a personal request: please consider taking a look at the web site I set up for folks to keep up with her progress, and to help if so inclined.



  1. Dennis L. Peterson

    Excellent post, and not at all at odds with Southern agrarianism. In fact, close-knit families are part of that tradition. Praying for your granddaughter and the family as they all deal with this challenge. I have eight of my own grandchildren and can only imagine what you’re going through.

  2. Tim Huckaby

    I am praying for your granddaughter and your family.

  3. Shannon

    I don’t know how people function without a church family. Grateful your family is close and you have a great church family. Prayers for minimum side effects, successful treatment, and complete recovery.

  4. Peter S. Kelley

    Please accept my best wishes for your grand daughter. I lost my sister back in ’41 to Aplastic Anemia, a different – but in some ways a close relative of her disease. At the time, she was about 5 (a little over) and, while I was much too young to be aware of the seriousness of her condition, I believe it had an enormous effect on my parents. Thank the Lord that we have progressed so far medically that the outlook for Lydia is now so very much better. I wish her a recovery as speedily as possible and peace for her parents and for you.

  5. Joe Putnam

    Sorry to hear about your granddaughter Lydia’s illness. I will remember her in my prayers.

  6. Fugitive Agrarian

    We give thanks in all circumstances but not all aspects of those circumstances. Boy, this is a good reminder to me to enjoy the little things while they are on loan to us. Thank you Lord for family and placing the solitary into community. May the Lord bless y’all and keep y’all and make his face shine upon y’all; and in return may y’all reflect that light as the moon does the sun.

  7. Heather

    I am so sorry, Mr. McGehee, about Lydia. I am praying for healing for her and strength for your whole family. Thank God you have a close family and a wonderful church home. And I think you telling us about Lydia and we all praying for your family reflects the good values of Southern Agrarianism. I am proud to call myself a God fearing Christian woman and very happy to be praying for dear little Lydia, a child of God.

  8. Stephen Clay McGehee

    Thank you all for your kindness and well-wishes! They mean more than perhaps you’ll ever know. Good news on the medical front: her bone marrow sample indicates that her chance of survival has gone to 97% – up from 85%-95%. Also, the chance of a cure with no remission has greatly increased. God is wonderful!

    Lydia made it home yesterday evening. To illustrate what a special girl she is, this morning, she was crying and her mother asked her why. She replied that she is sad that she is making things so hard for everyone else. How many seven-year olds have that kind of attitude – always thinking of others?
    Welcome Home, Lydia!

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