Saturday, April 25, 2015

All In A Country Mile

Way up here in the land of country-fed and country-bred folk, I have once again found comfort and joy. The land and the trees are a little behind in development and blooms, and the pollen is still sprinkling downward on everything it touches. But here, as at home, the rain has been pouring for days on end, which gives way to the thoughts of 40 days, 40 nights and Noah.

As I sat here this morning, trying to gather my thoughts and all the scrambled conversations from the last couple of days, housekeeping knocked on the door and asked could they come in to clean. We had already been to breakfast, and I had allotted this time to write my column, so there was really nowhere else for me to go. I of course said yes, and before long, and I know some of you will find this hard to believe, I found myself in a long conversation about children, grandchildren, and life.

She of course saw me clicking away on my laptop, and asked me was I having to work; I told her no, not really, and I explained what I was doing. She asked me what I wrote about and I told her pretty much anything and everything; about life, other folks’ lives, and mine. She also asked was this a business trip or pleasure and I begin to tell her about our family; who are all from ‘round these parts, about our great-grandbaby who I just met, and about today and the specialness of all that.

Today is my oldest child’s birthday; Joshua was the very first person to take up space in my heart and bury himself deep into my soul. He is still staying with his birth father in North Carolina, but he’s coming down for the day, it’s about a three hour drive, and having his birthday dinner with us and several of my husband’s family members.

He’ll also be home in May for a few weeks, then he is off on a new adventure. The last week of May he is moving to Vermont, the other side of the world, to live and work with some fellow MFA’ers, and to try and find his way again. It’s a long, long way for this Mama but I know it may be a necessary step to the future for him.

As our housekeeper Teresa and I continued to talk, I learned all about her 32 year old daughter with two children 12 and 15 years old who live with her as well. And as the conversation went on, I knew, as I really always know, everybody’s lives are filled with crooked roads and uneven paths. That life is really never how we planned it, but it’s most times, just exactly how it’s meant to be.  As different as Teresa and I might have seemed, in this moment and time we were exactly the same; just two mama’s trying to get our children grown.

Happy Birthday to my Joshua, your mama loves you always, bigger than the world. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Replenishing Rain

I don’t know how other people do it, but I plan ahead for days like this; watching the weather channel, listening to newscasters, anything and everything that informs with accuracy and validity. Because I don’t want any kind of mishaps and miscalculations changing anything I have already have my mind set toward.

It started yesterday when hurting back and all, I set out to get all my errand-running finished, complete with my Tallahassee runs and the weekly trip to the grocery house. With every aching, painful step, I just kept telling myself, keep moving because tomorrow will bring all the just rewards. I’m not sure what I’ve done to my lower back, but this happens on about a quarterly basis, so it’s not new, just irritating, and my local chiropractor is always here to help me get through it. But despite that, I trudged through, just to be able to celebrate what is happening today.

I woke up this morning to a darkened room; it was 9am although by all appearances it could have easily been much earlier. As I laid there and looked around at the glory of it, I just smiled and said to myself, “YES! This is really going to happen today!” Then I got up and begin to live out the day that had already been planned from start to finish.

After I brushed my teeth and washed my face, I walked through the house and towards the kitchen, when low and behold, I saw the best sight I’ve laid eyes on in a couple of years now. There was a small white bag, and a white box which would contain some of the best breakfast-eating treats this side of the Chattahoochee River; Reynolds doughnuts! And in the little white bag were the chocolate-covered doughnuts that they just this week put back into their daily line-up for purchase. I’m still not sure why they stopped making them, or why they started back-up, but there sure are a lot of excited people in Quincy; truth be told, a little too excited over something that would do us all better to be a rare treat than an often occurrence.

Regardless, I made my coffee, gathered my paper plate with one of each: a plain and a chocolate, sat down in my recliner, opened up my gateway to conversation and information, and me, my breakfast and laptop, set-out on a journey with nothing but the rain and rumbling thunder for background music.

These are the days made for body-recovery, self-help wellness, and just a general catching-up on your lives. Simple lunches of soups or casseroles that require little time, and less thought. Book reading that has fallen behind, television shows or movies that relieve the mind and take you to other places with less stress and more joy. Or naps – one of those much needed multi-nap days, minus the guilt for not being busier, doing more. This was the day that God made, and I’m all about living it to my advantage; rain can sure be a good thing.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Little Towns, Big Livin'

It was just about this time in 1998 that I was asked to make one of the biggest decisions I would probably make in my lifetime. The results and repercussions would very possibly be remembered by many, regardless of good or bad. The lives that would be affected, well, the young lives were honestly my only worry. But I was told I had about two weeks to decide. Who in the world could make a decision of that gigantic proportion in just two weeks? That person would of course turn out to be me.

I believe, this place, this little town, this county, raised my two children as much as I did. With its slow, lazy backroads that go on for days, its fields of grass, tomatoes, and homegrown vegetables, filled with cows, horses and goats; it would take us to a place we had never been exposed to before, and slow US down in a manner that we all needed.

The many ponds and lakes would bring fishing poles and smiles to little boy faces, the wide open spaces to ride bikes and go carts with no fear of fast-moving cars or concrete burns. The safety of camping out in backyards all night long, just a holler and a window away from my ear in the house. Birthday parties held on family farms that would bring a whole new meaning to the game hide and seek.

The opportunity to live and grow-up in such a tight knit community would at first feel very restricted and lonely. I have learned, these type of communities are that way for a reason. They like their security, their comfort, and any outside sources coming in who may cause them reason to feel fear of being disturbed or harmed is not welcome. There’s actually a kind of initiation of acceptance if you will; we must have passed with flying colors, because we’re still here, and now we, are one of the many who look at “strangers” with wary eyes and initial discomfort.

There is very little crime here in our little town and it is dealt with swiftly and competently. Many in the more rural areas of our county still leave their doors unlocked and the houses unattended with nary a worry in the world. We actually live in the city limits now, and although leaving doors unlocked has never been and never will be an option for me, I can honestly say, our little neighborhood looks out for one another and the honor system seems to work just fine here.

Front porch sitting is real, corn fritters and pots of lima beans and sausage over a backyard fire really happens, horse shows and livestock sales and farm equipment auctions on Saturday mornings with a real auctioneer like Mr. Cal Cooksey are real, and addressing every grown-up with a Mr. or Mrs. accompanied by their first name; all of these things are normal everyday life here. I’ll always know It’s the best place I could have brought young boys to learn to be young men.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Beginnings

There are so many traditions that take place during this week every year, other than the obvious which is Easter. I myself have been planning our menu for Easter Sunday for two weeks now, which seems to always consist of a baked ham, devilled eggs, and all the other amenities that usually go with that. I haven’t quite figured out the dessert that I’ll prepare, but the idea of it will come to me before much longer.

Does anybody other than me find it amazing how it always works out that the last cold-spell of the year is always before Easter? I guess the part that I find so interesting is that although Easter is never the same Sunday from one year to the next, sometimes it’s early April, sometimes it’s late, but the cold always seems to accompany it regardless.

I’ve also heard so many old farmer’s tales about Good Friday and the planting of vegetables and seeds. My husband came from a family of farmers and he said his mother would not put one single seed into the ground until Good Friday. Her theory was that the bugs and insects were never as bad on Good Friday, which would lead to less disease and such for what she had planted. Nobody around his house had any other plans for that day other than hitting those fields for planting.

And then there’s the childhood traditions; I’ve already bought all the candy and fun stuff to help the Easter Bunny prepare the baskets. Zach and Ramsey will have theirs here on Easter morning, and Joshua will get his in the mail. And yes, I know they’re all grown-up now, but everybody likes candy and surprises and it makes me feel good so it all still happens.  Zach draws the line at hiding and hunting eggs, but he does participate in coloring them with Ramsey each year at her house for the younger children to hunt.

I’m not sure if they will do the early sunrise service or the later 11am service but they will be there in their pretty new Easter clothes, Zach looking as dapper as always, and Ramsey as pretty as can be. My parents will join us for dinner that day, Zach will recite a special grace, and we will all probably eat more than we should.

As I walked around my yard earlier this morning with my coffee cup in hand, I took notice of all the new growth on my trees, the blooms on my Crab-Apple trees and Knockout Roses, my red Amarillo’s around the mailbox and the Canna Lily’s busting up through the dirt around my sidewalk. This is always one of my favorite weeks of the year. For me, it represents a new start, new life everywhere you look, new beginnings and a freshness that not only can you see, but you can smell, for these precious few weeks every year. 

He’s the reason we’re all here to see it, always be sure to praise it and be thankful for it, every chance you get.