All for the love of a granddaughter
By BY LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Everyone loves their grandchildren and Howard Andrews is no exception. He loves his granddaughter, Dakota, very much and lately took on a project as a present to give to her the next time she visits - a log cabin.
The last few years have been hard on the Andrews family. Their only child, Angie, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She and her family were living in Pennsylvania and she was able to get on an experimental program there. All attempts to stop the cancer failed and she died last May. The family was devastated and in an effort to help the little girl get over the loss of her mother, they took the trip to the Smoky Mountains.
Dakota has not been able to be a typical little girl and has had to grow up quickly during the time of her mother's illness. But she is still a child and she loves to play. The time she spends with her grandparents in Brewton is very precious to her and to them. A visit to their home north of Brewton and one can see all the signs of a child's playground. There is a 'club house' underneath the stairs that lead to an attic over the garage. There is even a miniature golf course set up. But, the request for a log cabin led Andrews to start the latest project for her.
Andrews has been interested in the "Foxfire" series of books and consulted one about how to go about building the cabin. "Foxfire" is a series of books written by Elliot Wiggington which gives instructions and advice on how to do things the old fashioned way. The author traveled into the Appalachian Mountains and gathered information to go in the books. The idea is to give the reader the knowledge of how to do things if modern technologies are not available.
In one of the books are instructions and photographs to lead even an amateur through the process of building a log cabin. In August of last year, Andrews started to cut the logs that would be used for the building. He trimmed them and then notched them so that they would fit together better and made it about 13 x 14 feet. He placed chicken wire in the spaces between the logs and covered the wire with concrete. He has shutters at the two windows and both a front door and a back door. He added porches onto the front and the back and then placed some old items around the yard and in the house.
Inside there is a antique wood heater, a trunk, a table, some odds and ends, a kerosene lamp and even a rope bed that he made. The rope bed is made by running rope through the sides to make a net on which to place a mattress. As of right now, he hasn't made the mattress but is planning to do so.
Out in the yard he has built a rail fence around the house and yard. He even incorporated the burial site of his daughter's horse into the edge of the yard, headstone and all. There is an old-fashioned wash pot and pump in the yard just like the old timers would have used for laundry. Located just behind the house, Andrews is building a bench to set things on and the back porch boasts a shelf which holds a pan that would have been used for washing hands.
All of this was done for the love between a grandfather and granddaughter. Andrews can hardly wait until this summer when Dakota visits from her home in Pennsylvania.
Both Andrews and his wife, Edna, beam when they talk about the little girl who is now the center of their lives. They are excited about her next visit and can hardly wait to see her reaction to the log cabin.
Howard Andrews was born in 1939 near where he lives today into a family of five children. Two of the children died young. He attended school at North Brewton School and then went to W.S. Neal where he graduated in 1958. His brother was working in San Diego so after graduation, Andrews went there to work as an apprentice machinist. While he was there he attended San Diego State. He and his wife, Edna, married right out of high school and after about 3 1/2 years they returned to Brewton where he went to work at Conecuh Sausage as a meat cutter. He eventually became sales manager for Conecuh Sausage and retired after 33 years following a vehicle accident in 1996 which motivated his retirement.
He and his wife are involved in church activities at Community of Christ Church in Brewton. He is a member of the Brewton Lions Club and loves to play golf.
The Andrews make it a habit to take every Friday for themselves. They visit old customers that he had while he worked and also work's in stops at antique dealers. They also visit in Pittsburgh several times a year to see their granddaughter and while there they like to visit the Amish country.