Anyone Living, Pelham, GA

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Anyone Living, Pelham, GA

In 1958, my dad left the red Farmall
and the land and the long rows
of what could be grown

in rows—peanuts, corn, cotton,
tobacco, and beans—under the pine-
rimmed South Georgia sky.

Ceded them to his oldest brother
and regretted the “giving”
of the tractor his whole life,

cause every man needs a tractor—
to pull a log or truck, to
plow an acre for freezer stock.

So, he drove from the land, but not
the homestead, for a job in town.
Filled out his federal forms

with the thick-fingered hands
of a Cracker farmer (which are hard
to hide), hands made smart

with math by a high-school degree,
and became what he always was to me—
a U.S. Letter Carrier and Clerk,

a get-up-every-day-and-go-to-work
man with a speeding eagle and gold
embroidery on his blue shirt.

His wide shoes beat bare lanes
door-to-door in the Black quarters,
while his big smile and dead-

letter kindnesses made friends—
saving someone’s live mail-order
chicks, reuniting sisters

with a letter simply addressed
“Anyone Mays, Living, Pelham, GA.”
So much so that a gospel trio

from Bethel AME met him
in the hospital on his final, frail
route, delivered a personal

a cappella note: Lead me on, let me
stand. I am tired…I am weak…
I am worn. Through the storm,

through the night, lead me
on to the light: Take my hand—
precious Lord—lead me home.


2 thoughts on “Anyone Living, Pelham, GA

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