The Patriarch

On June 3, 2021, my sisters and brothers, in-laws, and friends gathered at Myrtle Springs Cemetery in Geneva, Texas, to pay our respects and bid farewell to the last child of Henry Acie and Mary Elva Murphy Smith.

With Shirley Jo Smith Burleson’s passing, I became the Patriarch of the Smith branch of the family. Traditionally, the eldest member of a generation, Patriarch or Matriarch, was venerated and had enormous influence over family affairs. He or she sat at the head of the table at family gatherings and received the choice cuts of meat. He or she controlled the TV remote at Thanksgiving and other celebrations. Marriages were arranged, businesses run, disputes settled, all by the Patriarch/Matriarch.

Now I find myself in that exalted position, and pray I have the knowledge, skill, and ability to perform my duties honorably and fairly. I shall enjoy my privileges and wield my new powers with skill, assiduity, fairness, and wisdom.

My brothers and sisters will, of course, pay me no attention whatsoever. That is as it should be.