Sunday, May 29, 2016

Caps In The Air!!!

People were piling in by the dozens, craning their necks to find their “people”, introductions being made all around between hometown folk and visiting families, and everybody was dressed with the grace and dignity the occasion deserved.

I sat in the dim light, the entire auditorium packed to the gills, I in an outside aisle chair, when the music began to play. People rose to their feet, turned toward the entrance door, and as I saw their fresh faces filled with trepidation and excitement all at the same time – my eyes began to fill with water and I turned to grab a tissue from my purse, knowing this was only the beginning.

It was a small class – the Class of 2016 – but it was a formidable one none-the-less. All of them standing tall, confident, and ready for whatever was about to come their way.

All thirteen chairs would fit onto one single row upon the stage. They would all sit side by side, ending this ride, one right next to the other, as they already had, all year long.

The awards/rewards for all their hard work would be many and would be generous. Their names would be called, their hands would be shook, and they would all smile for the camera – for clarity and for the sake of posterity.

The Salutatorian, Miss Hilary Erde, would speak in the way she has probably spoken all of her life; with the clear, resounding and confident voice of knowing who she is, and where she is going. She spoke of the performing stage as being a big part of her life for many years, and her ease at which she spoke was undeniably an excellent representation of just that.   Her prior achievements personally and educationally, spoke for themselves as she stood at that podium and gave the speech of her high school career.

And then there was Miss Anna Meeks, the Valedictorian of RFM Class of 2016. My husband and I have known Anna for quite a long time, but it was during her late middle school years that we really got to know her even better.

She would ride with us to some of the football games that were out of town. Her brother had played football in prior years, but by then he had graduated, and since our son Zach still played, she rode with us.

I cannot even tell you what an eye-opening experience that was for us – to discover the complex, deeply intelligent, insightful and immensely comical side to Anna Meeks. You learn a lot about someone riding 6 hours in a closed-up vehicle, several times a month!

The speech she gave was a true reflection of the young lady giving it; I laughed and I cried, and I dug out more tissues. It was absolutely 100% Anna Morgan Meeks, and I was so proud to say that I already knew just how amazing she truly is, and how proud I was that now everyone else would know too. 

Congratulations to the RFM 2016 graduating class. Go forth and prosper – as I know you all will.

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Cook's On Vacation

It all glared back at me as if to say “Who are you, where have you been and what in the heck are you doing back here? You left us all alone and now it looks like you’ve come crawling back to claim us. You pick us up and put us down, and think nothing about the time that passes in between”.

And it’s true, it’s all right where I left it after the last time, which when, is what I can’t even really remember; stacked nice and neatly on the shelving, just waiting for the next user to come and visit.

In another room the oven door seemed to creak and groan as I pulled it open ready to use it – again, for the first time in ages.

I’ve got one family member with one foot out the door on any given day and another who works on the road a lot this time of the year. Neither are home very much, come in late at night, most of the time haven already eaten, and the weekends – well their time here is so sporadic – who wants to try and fix meals for that kind of non-existence?

Who wants to stand in the heat of a kitchen for hours on end fixing those big weekend dinners, frying up pork chops or chicken, making homemade mashed potatoes and special dishes for folks who will arrive who knows when, telling you – no thanks - they stopped by McDonald's on the way home – but they’ll eat it for leftovers later.

I haven’t cooked a full blown meal for weeks – until today. I used my oven and two eyes on the stove. That’s more than has been used at any one time in probably a month.

But when I walked into the back room to gather up the pots and pans that I would need to make today's dinner, there they all sat, ready to go; even if they did look back at me accusingly and at the same time making me feel slightly ashamed.

I’ll tell you what did look relieved though – that dang can opener of mine! Cause it has sure enough gotten a work out for the past month! Pork and bean cans for beanie weenies, Ravioli cans for quick suppers, and tuna cans for a LOT of tuna salad. I know when that can opener saw me pass it by it said a silent “thank you Jesus, that woman is FINALLY going to cook something that doesn’t involve me!”

I really think this whole experience is putting me in training for when it really is just me and my husband here most of the time. My youngest has finally signed on his home and after the pre-work is done in it, he’ll be moving out, probably mid-June or so. And there will only be just the two of us – and many times just one.

So what I really need all of you folks to do, is send me your recipes for simple dishes that don’t involve hours of work. I’ll be waiting - with my can opener on stand-by.

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Home Is Where The Heart Is

This Mother’s Day was a first for me. Well, I guess technically it wasn’t a first, because I haven’t always had children – but it was definitely a first since the first time I became a Mama.

This holiday, as life and fate would work things out; I found myself alone for the first time in 30 years, and I was not prepared for just how empty/sad that would feel.

My husband took a job that would have him out of town for better than a few days – including the weekend. My youngest son had made prior plans to go out of town weeks before, not realizing that it was Mother’s Day weekend, and of course my oldest son lives almost 2000 miles away – so Josh appearing for the occasion was not happening either.

My youngest son took me out for an early celebration Thursday night, which was a first for us – an adult dinner – just the two of us, in which I didn’t pick-up the tab. It was nice, both of dressed for a night out, sitting there in a real restaurant, having adult conversation; and my oldest sent me a nice card, with a beautiful inscription.  

As I said, sitting at home just didn’t quite seem like the road I needed to take this year. My folks were originally supposed to have come to Quincy for a visit and lunch, but now with just myself being here, that seemed a little pointless.

So I packed up a bag, locked down the empty house, and headed home - to Albany Georgia, to celebrate my Mother’s Day and to celebrate my mom’s with her.

It’s not all that often that I have my folks to myself, and it was so good to be back home. We all went out and had a lovely dinner, we took a drive afterward to show me some of the changes and growth in the area and then headed back to their house where we would laugh, tell stories, reminisce and laugh some more.

Sometime around seven o’clock – my Daddy’s sweet tooth must have kicked in and he left out for a destination of Krispy Kreme. Now they have one of those about a mile from their home, but here, it’s a trip to Tallahassee – so that really never happens.

We had eaten lunch at sort of mid-day – so I guess you would call that our supper, and what a treat that was – and one I can’t honestly say had ever happened when I was younger. Isn’t it so much fun when you grow-up and your parents are the fun people now? When you can laugh, use salty language and feel like you can talk to them about anything – and eat DOUGHNUTS for supper?!

It was a wonderful weekend and the best decision I could have made. It was nice to have a just a mother/daughter celebration for a change, and again, it was selfishly nice to have them both all to myself.

Thanks to my Mama and Daddy for a very special Mother’s Day, and I sure hope my Mama’s felt the same.

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Love Lives Forever

Her bright-eyed almost childlike manner, her squeaky, always overly excited voice and ever present smile are her some of her life-long trademarks. She’s ever-positive, energetic, encouraging and hopeful. And yesterday, even in the most awful of circumstances – through bouts of uncontrollable tears and overwhelming emotion – she still remained all of the above.

Saturday afternoon I attended a baby shower for a “little girl” named Kathryn Seable Williams. Seable is a family name, after her great Aunt Seable on her PaPa’s side.  That little girl is now a beautiful woman, and is about to be an amazing mama. I already knew, given the circumstances, that it was very possibly going to be a difficult and overwhelmingly emotional day; just how much so, there was no real way to know.

The shower was being held in Altha, Florida at the home of her Aunt Judy Bodiford, who is always such a gracious hostess for these type of events. I’ve had the privilege of attending several functions in her home and they are always so elegantly set-up, yet also so comfortable, you’re immediately at ease in your surroundings.

Aunt Judy and her sisters – Carolyn (Aunt Con), Aunt Sue, Aunt Jackie (Aunt Dude) and Aunt Jean gather together and put on the best shing-dings you have ever seen. Full of good food and each celebration is coordinated with the decorations for which it demands – and most often topped off with mimosas like any southern brunch/shower should be – for everyone but the mama-to-be!

This particular day I was extremely thankful for my southern roots, and for all the other women who surrounded Kathryn as well, because no one on this earth can bring comfort and pour out love on someone who needs it, more than down-home southern women.

The prior Thursday evening, Kathryn tragically lost her husband-to-be and the love of her life; and their soon-to-be baby girl, Aubrey Seable, lost the daddy she will never know. But yesterday, Kathryn came into that house hugging-tight and loving all, alternately smiling and crying, showering everyone with thanks and appreciation. But at the very end of the shower, she took a long breath, stood up and announced she had something to say.

I wish I could repeat it verbatim for you all, but I cannot. Except to say they were the most heartfelt and kind words imaginable given the inner turmoil going on inside her heart and her body. She said such kind words in honor of her love for Hector Ferrer and the promise that she would do her best to raise their daughter with all the love she possessed and that she appreciated all the love and guidance surrounding her.

Tears trailing down her face, but with such strength and resilience in her voice, she vowed to everyone, that Hector would always be in her heart and her soul and that she would make sure Aubrey Seable, would know the legacy of her daddy and how much he loved her.

Aubrey Seable Ferrer will forever be a living testament to the deep, heart-felt love between her daddy and her mama – in that we can all believe.

Also previously published @ The Havana Herald

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Freeze Frame

My swing is standing out front, covered in perfumed jasmine blooms, with no beautiful people flanking its sides. There are no fairy-tale-like scenes of handsome prince’s and beautiful princess’s dodging raindrops, humidity, gnats, or the blistering sun.

There are no fella’s with tuxes and cowboy boots looking as if they have smiled their last smile, and no more mother’s waiting for that perfect moment to snap the perfect memory picture of all time.
I’ll admit, I’m being a little dramatic, because all of those things ARE still happening, they’re just not happening to me.

So do you know what the people of proms-gone-past do on nights like this? Well, we ride to Lowes at 5:30 in the evening to look for MORE flowers that we probably don’t really need. We wander around the garden section hoping that the distraction of assorted flowers and greenery will get us past this moment of feeling left out and lost.

And it does for a little while, until the ride home, when we pass two different limousines headed in the same direction, which can ONLY mean, someone is riding in style to the prom tonight.  Because I promise you, there is never any other need for two limousines to travel to Quincy Florida on a Saturday night, other than prom.

After we got home we unloaded our little pots of happiness but decided we would wait until the morning to drag out shovels and hoes. However, my husband was still restless, so he set about washing his truck for the work week ahead.

I came on inside, opened up my laptop, intending to begin this column to you all, trying to describe my feelings of sheer desolation, but instead, I segued into a look at Face Book first.

And oh my goodness at all the beautiful, suddenly grown-up people I found in my news

feed. Now you have to know, that everyone I’m looking at tonight is at least three years or more, younger than my last- to-graduate high school child. So I’m really trying to figure out who all these “babies” are and when did they become such beautiful human beings?!

I can’t even imagine the shock that was surely on my face as I scrolled through picture after picture of stunningly elegant gowns and tuxes, with beautiful young people wearing them.  

After several minutes of scrolling and commenting, I came back to this article, tried to write some more, but was still too distracted. So I got out of my recliner, gathered-up my camera, and headed outside.

I might not have any pretty people to photograph, but you’d have been hard-pressed not to wonder if I wasn’t someone famous out there snapping shots as I practically lounged across the curb, leaning in awkward positions, one foot on the ground, one pirouetting ballerina-style, trying to reach the blooms at the top of a branch, or on my knees, scrunched down so far I was practically nose to dirt for my up-close shot of an about-to-be rose bloom.

Our prom days are over – but Better Homes and Garden ain’t got nothing on me!

copyright 2016 Michelle Mount Mims
Also previously published @ The Havana Herald