01 - Dean riding a horse

Sitting on the hill with Dean

by Lynne McCafferty -
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Dean was the oldest of ten and I guess Larry Dean is right, he developed a sense of responsibility towards all of us right from the start. Funny thing, I never once remember Dean being mad at any of us to the point where angry words were spoken. It may have been different with the boys; Dean always made sure nothing happened around me. He kept me sheltered I suppose.

Anyway, Dean was quiet and soft-hearted, probably the most soft hearted person I’ve ever known. I remember coming home one day from school and Dean was at the house. It had been a rough day at school and I was terribly upset because some of the girls had been picking on me. We hadn’t lived there long and I was attending a new school. It was tough. Dean understood that and asked what was wrong so I told him. He didn’t say anything at that time except to ask me if I wanted to go for a walk. I said yeah, and we walked around the peanut fields and pastures that surrounded our home. When we got to a hill where we could see for miles, we sat down and neither of us said anything for a while.

Then Dean started talking to me about when he was younger and he wasn’t always accepted by the kids he went to school with either. He didn’t really say what to do, or how I should respond, but his understanding of my situation came through very clearly. He didn’t have to tell me what to do; he just let me know that I mattered. Sitting there on that big ole hill with him I understood that we all feel small sometimes but the people that love us make it okay.

Dean spent time with me like this fairly often and in his quiet voice and soft heart, I understood that I was loved. I miss him everyday and wish we could just sit on a hill somewhere and say nothing — just communicate acceptance and love in a way that transcends words.