Finley Meets Kinsey. #Hammond

By the time many of you read this post on Wednesday, my niece, Elizabeth Black will have presented the annual Kinsey Black Jones Award to a deserving graduate of Hammond School. As many of you know, I usually post after the award has been given as to congratulate each year’s recipient. This year is a little different.

A few months ago I felt compelled to inform my eight-year-old that I had been married before I was married to her mommy, Jennifer. We sat together at the corner of the bar at Tazza Kitchen, just the two of us. It was around 2:00PM on a Saturday, so we weren’t surrounded by scores of patrons. I told Finley what was what and what happened next was unexpected. Tears began to swell out of the bottom of her eyes and fall down her cheeks. “You mean if she didn’t die you wouldn’t be my daddy?”

“Wait…what?” Stunned, my brain went into, “Oh, s*&^. What do I say? What do I say now?”

Finley sobbing, “You mean mommy wouldn’t be my mommy?”

I picked her up and sat her bottom on the concrete bar to face me and we just hugged for what felt like forever but not long enough, concurrently. The staff walked by watching a dad drowning in his daughter’s confusion.

Fast forward a couple of days and the questions kept coming. More analysis. More A equaled B, but B didn’t equal C. I told her, “It’s not going to make sense like you want it to, babe. This is part of God’s plan, and you have to understand how sequences of events work.”

I’m not sure it’s all complete in her mind, but she’s a proud girl about it. Finley has worn the heart-shaped button with Kinsey’s likeness on it to school and often asks me to get her jewelry box down from our closet shelf.

The photo above is Finley and I visiting the cemetery in Manning. A few weeks ago we were on our way to the beach and I decided to stop (Jen rode down with a friend earlier). I pulled up far enough such that the twins couldn’t see what we were doing from their car seats.

I introduced Finley to Kinsey. Finley started to talk as many of you know her to do. “Hi, I’m Finley. This is my daddy”

Finley didn’t know I took these pics. For context, Kinsey’s mom, Nell (Nana) Black was buried a few years ago beside her daughter. As you can imagine, I won’t soon forget that moment.

Why did I tell her when I did? It was probably “time,” but in an inadvertent way, the answer is Hammond School. Diving deeper the answer is Mary Clyde Culbreath and (probably) Emily Brady Bedenbaugh.

Here’s the rub: Emily (I think Emily wrote it) posted a diddy about Hammond alumni that were “Back on Campus.” Well, it dawned on me that my kid and all of her friends can read! Further, they are constantly on our phones and any one of her Hammond friends could have read the post and/or through any number of grapevines of parent/kid connections the story could have made it back to Finley’s ears.

In short, I didn’t want Finley hearing about it off the street.

Why am I blogging about this now? On Wednesday, Aunt Liz and I are taking Finley to Award’s Day at Hammond so she can understand a little more, and watch Elizabeth present the scholarship.

To bring this story full circle, guess who’s idea it was to take her this year…

Jennifer Sparks Jones.

Thank you Hammond School for including us and over the years and having us on Wednesday!

Franklin Jones


  1. Pamela Buddin says

    I am so glad I know you all!

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