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August 01, 2015

George Harrison - a life that keeps giving

George Harrison 8-1-15 by Alvin Perkins

A few weeks ago I woke with George Harrison on my mind. He died in 1952, when I was 1, so we didn’t really know each other well. But, what little I do know of him, from word-of-mouth and from his family legacy, makes me proud that he was my grandfather. I knew I needed to share a little about him today; he has affected all of us. Whether you carry his DNA, or you have been grafted into the family, you can’t escape his influence. This year is the 120th anniversary of his life.
George was born in 1895; he died when only 57 years old. He was known to be intelligent and completely devoted to God. He was a hard worker, which was the only kind of work here in those days, hard work. He apparently worked all his life in the coal mines. In the late 1930’s, when work was non-existent due to the depression, he did get a soft job. The WPA built a small library at Meadow Creek and he was the librarian. My mom told of going there with him as a little girl; both she and he were fascinated with books and education. This affected her all her life; she was an avid reader and pursued further education while raising our family. In turn, her influence (and Grandpa George’s) affected some of us with a love of books, learning, and the Bible.
He was known to be very knowledgeable on the Bible. He was apparently a gifted teacher, as well. We can see this influence in Eugene, Harvey, Carl, and Jimmy, and others. Several years before he died, he suffered a stroke, and was left with paralysis on one side. You can imagine the difficulty to go on, but go on he did. He continued to work in the mines, and he was at every church service. Of course, they pretty much had to walk everywhere, but he did so, basically dragging his bad leg along with him. Even when it was raining and muddy on the dirt roads of Jacks Fork, he limped along, devoted to his family and his God. George was a Methodist, and Lillie a Baptist. He was welcomed to teach Sunday School at Jacks Fork Baptist Church, but could not be a member without their baptism. It seems this troubled him (or Lillie) little. He possibly understood better than most, what the words of Micah mean, to “walk humbly with your God.”
My dad knew George well and his love of God and his righteousness were noticed. When a young married man, my dad went to church with my mom (the daughters, especially, carried on the faith), but was not a believer. He came under conviction that he needed to come to the Lord, and struggled greatly, refusing to give in. God was pursuing him. One day that stopped. It wasn’t a good thing, though, when he stopped feeling the call of God, and felt he had no hope, having missed the opportunity. My dad then began pursuing God. It seemed hopeless; In his agony he would plead with God, and try to pray, but nothing. He was miserable. One day in 1954 when he was trying to pray, he suddenly and clearly saw the face of George Harrison (dead for 2 years), who was just smiling at him, didn’t say anything. In that moment, my dad yielded to God, and felt the wave of forgiveness and peace that many of us know. He was saved, and the vision of George brought him to the right place to receive Jesus.
I know our world’s great wisdom and progress make God seem irrelevant or non-existent. In our day, when, more and more, people find all hope and purpose in humans, what we can do, and how we can make ourselves happy, George Harrison will continue to be a witness in your heart and soul. We have become very intelligent, maybe, but he was very wise. His simple faith is still the right way, and I pray we all will find it. The simple truth is still the truth.