I inherited the Saum family Bible after my sister and mother died 18 months ago. I haven't given it much thought, but in the writing of my new novel, Step Zero 2.0, I have good and bad Christians and I need a good King James Bible for research. So off to the musty storage locker I went.
What I found was an beautiful ancient book with the deaths, births and marriages of my mother's side of the family, from the 1860's to a couple decades ago. I had no idea those records were still in the book. I thought those pages had been missing for years. Instead, they were nestled between the Old and New Testament. I filled in the death dates that have occurred in the last few years that I knew: an uncle, an aunt, a father, a mother, a sister. Some questions were answered about my ancestors yet more questions arose, like the twins by Aunt Nan who died in 1941 after having lived only one day. No one's ever talked about those baby's deaths.
The Bible seemed to have been purchased by the great great grand parents after the birth of their second child in 1884. Thumbing through this huge tome I found the above note. I have no idea who Maud Wright was, but my best guess is she was a good friend of the Saums.
"May your life be as cloudless as a summer day," she wrote to her friends. I'm struck not only by the beautiful handwriting but mostly the lovely sentiment.
So did Earl and Nannie Saum have a cloudless life? Doubtful, even though they were wealthy landownders in Northern Virginia. They had sicknesses and successes, failures and weaknesses, births and deaths, most of the fine details lost in Time.
But the kind thought of a friend wishing them calm and peace lives on, in my hands, in my family bible, 129 years later, almost to the day.
I can only hope that a century from now, someone finds a handwritten note from me, wishing a friend love and light. I best get started.