Jenny was a beautiful blond blue eyed woman. After years of wondering, she was about to learn the truth about her family. Jenny was raised in a single parent home, growing up in Boston with Rachel, her mother. They had done well on their own. Jenny never wanted for anything. Her mother, although extremely attractive, never married or dated all of Jenny’s life. Jenny asked many times about her family and history, but only received the loving response that someday she would be told everything.
Jenny and Rachel were only thirteen years apart. In time as Jenny grew into a young adult they could almost pass for twins. The love between Jenny and her mother ran so deep they rarely disagreed. They seemed to do everything together and their tastes mirrored each other. Many people thought they were sisters rather than mother and daughter. Their closeness was about to be tested.
While watching the national news together an announcement was made that the famous Mississippi humanitarian Samuel Chambliss had passed away. He had been preceded in death by his wife. The majority of Samuel Chambliss’ estate was being left to his son Richard, who the family hoped would continue the Chambliss’ legacy of philanthropy. The remainder of the estate was being left to his estranged daughter.
Rachel turned the television off. She took Jenny by the hand and said, “It’s time you knew about your family.” Rachel knew she was risking their relationship by telling Jenny what she had been longing to know. Jenny requested even the most minor of details and Rachel complied. The night passed with uncontrollable tears and affectionate embraces. When the new day dawned they prayed together. Rachel’s burden was lifted and she was healed. Jenny, however, now had unfinished business.
A month later, Jenny boarded a plane for Tupelo, Mississippi. She landed, obtained a rental car and drove out of town into farm country. Finally after travelling for some time Jenny arrived at a very large plantation. There was a huge plantation house at the end of a long drive. Horses were running free with stables nearby. Crops of various kinds were in the distance in perfect rows. Workers were all about, caring for the property that seemed to have no borders. Jenny was overwhelmed at the sharp contrast between Boston and this plantation.
As Jenny pulled up to the plantation house, Richard Chambliss came out to greet her, along with his family. Richard was a handsome young man, blond and blue eyed just like Jenny and her mother. Except for the beard Richard was sporting, Jenny and Richard could pass for sister and brother. Upon entering the house Jenny was properly introduced to Richard’s wife and two children, and after Jenny settled into her room she came down and had dinner with the family. It was a pleasant time, everyone was kind, and the dinner table seemed to be a very happy place. The family had a tradition of completing each meal with the reading of scripture. Jenny especially enjoyed this tradition and thought it would be something she and her mother could establish in Boston.
After dinner the rest of the family dispersed while Richard and Jenny went into the living room to chat. Jenny noticed above the fireplace were two silver serving spoons. She asked, “People normally have pictures above their fireplace. How is it that you have old silver serving spoons above yours?” Richard replied, “Interesting that you should notice the spoons because they are a very important part of our heritage. You see after Poppa died I was doing inventory and not far from the house there was and old crumbling shack. I was checking inside for anything of value before tearing the little shack down. There they were, on top of a shelf wrapped in some old cloth. These old engraved serving spoons that have probably been in our family for generations were about to be destroyed or at least disappear forever. Just imagine if we had lost this history!”
After a few moments of silence Jenny began to speak. “Richard, I didn’t ask about the spoons because I don’t know their story. I actually wanted to see how much you know. Your sister, my mother, told me about those spoons before I came. You see when my mother was a little girl Samuel Chambliss would wake her in the middle of the night and take her to that shack you demolished. For reasons she doesn’t know he would beat her with those spoons and then rape her. For several years my mother endured this torture and rape that all started with a beating with those spoons. As time went on my mother became pregnant as a result of the continually being raped. You see Richard, technically I’m not just your niece, I’m also your sister. Do you understand what I’m saying? Samuel Chambliss is my father not my grandfather. My mother was sent away to protect his reputation. She didn’t abandon him, but rather he abandoned her.
“Those spoons that are a symbol to you of a great American are a reminder to me of rape and torture that my mother was silent about for years. Because of what that monster did to my mother she never married. Because of what that monster did to my mother she was in such torment and fear Samuel Chambliss had to die in order for her to be brave enough to tell her story. She is still not ready to see this plantation after all these many years. Although I was never beaten with those spoons or raped I can still feel the effects of what my mother suffered. The reason I’m crying now is because those spoons don’t represent a great man, but rather a helpless girl that needed to be rescued and never was.
“Jenny, I had no idea,” Richard said. “All these years I’ve only looked at Poppa one way. Everyone in this county and country has only seen him one way. I don’t know what to do with everything you’ve said, but what I do know is that these spoons must come down. If they are going to cause you and Rachel sadness then it cheapens their value. I care enough about the restoration of my family to take the spoons down.
“Jenny, this reminds me of the current argument over the confederate flag. I never got the point of black folks until now. When they see the confederate flag, they are feeling what you felt when you saw those spoons.
“I want you to always feel welcome here Jenny. I want you to feel the love of Christ while you are with us and not to be thinking we don’t care about how these spoons affect you. Rachel is my sister, so please tell me what I can do to help her heal.”
“Richard, you already have, and with the Lord’s help momma is going to be just fine. I declare we will all be fine in Jesus name.”


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