CLAIMING FIRST PLACE
When Harriett and Arley were married, a couple of Eaves grandsons already were in place. Living just at the foot of the hill, Monte and Isobel had two little boys, Farrell and George. As the older, Farrell had already claimed his spot as “Paw Paw’s favorite” and had free run of the place. He’d come up to Paw Paw’s and spend the night—and didn’t see any problem in continuing that after “Miss Harriett” moved in. Why should his sleeping in the middle in their bed be any different? They worked that out and Farrell continued to spend as much time as possible following Paw Paw everywhere.
When I crashed the party by being born, there was considerable tension between “Paw Paw’s favorite” and his new “little girl.” Arley handled it by declaring there were some things girls did and others best left to boys. I was always provoked when he took Farrell fishing and on other outdoor activities he thought unsuitable for girls.
After Arley died in 1953, Farrell continued to remember him. There was a Pendleton wool red and black plaid shirt of Arley’s that he wore often, saying it made him feel close to Paw Paw. Many years later, he had it carefully dry cleaned and sent it to me with a letter talking about his love for Paw Paw—and making one more claim that he was his “favorite.”
Farrell and Fern have parented three wonderful children, Marilee, Monte and Meg, and delight in their grandchildren. Even with a successful lifetime in the business world, Farrell always found great joy in his woodcraft and photography. A family treasure is the 2003 book, Mr. Eaves and His Magic Camera. A book jacket quote by Farrell: “ORDINARY cameras see what we see—the OUTER SHELL or skin of the world around us. MY camera and I PEEL AWAY this COVERING and innocently CREATE POWERFUL images, arranging highlights and placing AURORAS where there appears to be none.”
He shared Arley’s love of woodworking and carried it to the next level over the years. A master craftsman, he created lovely pieces of furniture for his own home, built clocks and in later years, has become a master carver of birds, sea creatures, and animals. Using driftwood he found in Texas, he patiently has created many magnificent realistic carvings.
In the summer of 2019, Heather and I took Camp Grandmama on the road and stopped by Signal Mountain for an afternoon visit with Farrell and Fern. We toured his wonderful workshop out back and marveled at the variety of his handiwork over the years. He shared his new ambition—to be the “oldest Eaves who ever lived.” His father Monte –the previous record holder–died shortly before his 88th birthday. Today Farrell is celebrating his 88th birthday, and now holds the title. Congratulations, Farrell!