EARLY YEARS THAT SHAPED MY LIFE
by Reavis E. Dixon

       It has been said that, God must love the common person, because he made so many of them!

     Daily we see, and hear tales of the rich and famous, sometimes dubiously so, who "Got the break", or "Who was in the right place at the right time", did the outrageous deed, or a thousand other antics. They write a book, and the rest is a fairy tale of success.

     It is, at best, doubtful whether readers will find the life and times of a Georgia, farm boy interesting. But life is sweet, even to the not so rich, and not so famous.

     My many years have taught me that life is not only the sum of the deeds that a person does, but a wonderful, day by day journey, which touches the lives of those around us.

     Oh! how much they have missed, who never heard the sounds of farm animals, the rumbling of a horse drawn wagon upon the three path roads of yesterday, enjoyed the laughter, shared the tears, and joys of those making life's journey parallel to us.

     My parents were both from large families. My mother had seven sisters and two brothers, and my father, seven brothers and two sisters. Their parents had little formal education, so that they could only give their families love and decency. There was nothing of a monetary nature to be handed down.

     My life began on December 5, 1937, in rural Pierce County, Georgia. My parents, Omer and Vietta Thomas Dixon, traveled a few miles to the home of my mothers sister, and there, sometime during the night, one of their dreams was fulfilled.

    My father often mused about that night. He told, and retold the story of the difficult birth. After the evening had become stable, and the doctor left to return to Blackshear, seven miles away, he passed my father who was waiting rather impatiently in the yard and said, "Me and you are night owls ain't we". Daddy knew the doctor well, and that casual comment told him that everything was going to be all right .

     I suppose things were getting a little better from the Hoover days, but I will always remember hearing my parents talk about the hard times that followed. They share cropped during the summer months, and during the winters, they picked up any kind of work that could be found.

     My father would work for the landlord cutting wood for the tobacco barn furnaces for the next summer. He often joked that, "A man could make fifty cents a day if he had his own axe". But sadly, it was no joke! Many the days that he swung an axe from daylight until dark for fifty cents.

     In later years he laughed about a morning when he arrived an hour after sunup. The landlord quipped, "Little late ain't you"? to which Daddy answered," Yeah, but I'll still earn fifty cents". He would grin, as he continued, "And he turned and went back in the house".