Bowen Hellraising at the Sparks Reunion

Whew!!! Survived the weekend on Bowen Hill! We had a Sparks reunion up on our family homestead of Bowen Hill. We are Sparks via our Mamaw, Olga Francis Sparks, who married a Bowen, Papaw. She was Mamaw Bowen to us. She was the best woman in all of the Appalachia… in my humbled opinion. Her dad, Charlie Sparks was a fervent preacher in the hills and her mother was Cleopatra Kidd… Mamaw’s rock that died too young for my Mamaw. Mamaw was one of eight children. She was tested in life with many trials and heartaches and despite it all, she kept her joyous spirit and brought happiness to many in her beautiful smile and sense of humor.

The Bowen side of the family are rebel rousers; true hillbillies. They worked the land, hunted, moonshined and lived life on the edge. It is an interesting blend of family genes, much like the one between my own mom and dad… a Sherman and a Bowen. It makes us refined and cultured at the same time as being earthy, adventurous and opinionated. Some how we came together from as far off as Oklahoma and California on this patch of land that resonates our intensity in life. There was some preaching, good food and lots of stories with boisterous laughs. The stories were mostly from the Bowens, even the ones only so by marriages that have long ago faded. They are still a part of our story and family.

Storytelling is a lost art, but not for my family. It is the glue that keeps us connected when we live so far apart or to keep the dead living among us. One story was of my Uncle, an infamous drunk, and how he broke his shoulder… seems he went to a party dressed as a woman, with heels, and fell off a porch… it is even funnier when you know that he looks like a scrappy Grizzly Adams. Another story was of when we were up there during a tornado; our cousin told us that my twin sister (who recently quit smoking) was so scared that she told him they were going to go to the bathroom and hotbox themselves to death if the tornado touched down. There were plenty more stories, but just not the kind you share for all, but were nontheless epic.

See… for some the Sparks give them the good image and status they crave, for the rest of us the Bowens give us freedom to be true to ourselves. We can speak our minds, show our asses, love intensely, laugh madly and cry our hearts clean; and never be judged for it. We are human, imperfectly so. That is acceptable and even expected among Bowens. That is what family is all about. I am blessed to be a member of the crazy hell raising Bowens. The after party, behind the scenes of the Sparks reunion was phenomenal. There was a shift in the universe… truths came out, words that had been held for too long were unleashed and a long overdue taste of crow was dished out. The dam was broke and joy flowed from the cathartic release. A successful reunion!

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