Final Tide, The

The year is 1948. Geneva Haw, fourteen, is a fun-loving colt of a girl whose galloping gait, mischievous spirit and love for a secret game of marbles with her boy cousins constantly frustrates her mother's attempts at molding Geneva into a young lady. Geneva lives with her mother and father, neighbors and kin in Kentucky's Cumberland River Valley, where Haws have lived "since Daniel Boone showed them the way." But Geneva's father and uncle know they will be working the soil there for the last time in the spring of 1948. The regular flooding of the Cumberland, which before has always left them "new treasures for the earth," will soon, with the completion of the Wolf Creek Dam, give way to a tide that eventually rises "almost to the top of the mountains," covering forever the homeplaces, gardens, roads and paths, church an burying ground they have known.

Geneva has heard that a "final tide" is coming with the completion of the dam at Wolf Creek, where folks say "gov-ment men filled a place between two mountains full of concrete an' dirt," but that's something she has trouble imagining. She sees the shadow of the final tide on her father's spirit, but understands little of the loss he already feels at the thought of leaving the land that is his legacy. Geneva wistfully longs to go to high school like the city kids, to wear the brown and white saddle shoes she's seen in the catalog, to get her hair cut and "curled up with a permanent" like her cousin Alice plans to do when her family moves to town.

Her Granny Haw, however, is determined to keep a promise to her departed husband to be buried beside him, and insists that she will neither permit his remains to be moved nor leave her beloved homeplace and her mysterious "treasures in blue jars." Only after the grave movers leave the churchyard and burying ground in chaos does Geneva begin to realize the extent of the changes to come and the losses her family faces-and to fully understand that she must help her Granny bow to the inevitable final tide and find a new home and happiness elsewhere.