Saturday, June 25, 2016

A New Beginning

The last few weeks many changes have been taking place and with those changes have been many more visits transpiring from Quincy folk to Georgia and Georgia folk to Quincy. Loads of furniture have traveled those all too familiar roads from one place to another, and things that were common staples years ago, will now be put to use again.

There was an attic full of old relics, pictures, and furniture – some of it even dating back to my own teenager days – that were used by myself so many years ago. I’ll admit feelings of melancholy occurred a couple of times as things were unwrapped and I was left standing looking at articles that my own hands touched more than 38 years ago now.

My youngest son’s new home is just about ready to move into – it’s been painted through-out the inside, the bathroom has been re-walled, and the kitchen has been re-floored.  The outside shutters, front door and railing have also been re-painted and trees/bushes have been cut-down and dug-up.

So although he hasn’t moved in quite yet – it’s already full of “new” furniture to help him fill-up a new home, pictures to make it feel warm and lived-in, and several rugs to place on the hardwood floors that will be cold come winter time.

But I too, will also have an empty room in my home – so I too, have also been receiving “new” furniture to fill my own empty spaces. It will all start happening in the next week or so – the final round will begin, and although I think I am ready, only time will tell once I have an empty room where a very active young man used to live.

What in the world will it look like without fishing gear, hunting guns, diving masks and duck calls lying about all over the place? Or his nightstand that stays piled with historical stories of president’s and wars, and his book-marked bible? Or the piles of clothes scattered here and there that always leave me wondering what is clean and what is not. Or the six pairs of cowboy boots that stand in a line, tucked just under one side of his bed, that I ALWAYS inevitably stump one of my toes on.

It’s the same room that I pass on the way to my own bedroom just across the hall, where I could lie in my bed and hear him if he called out, if he was coughing or sick, or just sit up and know at 1am, because the door was now shut, that he was home safe and sound.

I have already bought a new bedspread for my about-to-be guest room, it’s bright with colorful flowers. And now I have some “new” pictures, lamps, and a chair that were given to me from my folks that will go beautifully with what I already have – for a nice fresh start.

But my heart has to wonder, if at first, Zach will feel as strange in his new home, as I will with my newly-decorated room? Nahhhhhh….he’ll probably never even look back.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One Bright Light

She’s awakened in the night by the shrill ringing of the land-line telephone. Her heart beats out of her chest as she fumbles in the dark for the hand-piece that will stop that horrible, scary noise if she can just find it and push the appropriate button.

There’s just something about a ringing telephone in the middle of the night that shoots a direct arrow of fear straight into the heart, and no amount of calming or reasoning after the fact ever seems to change that. No matter that half the time it’s a wrong number or a mis-dial, it will always be the same heart-knocking fear that makes you weak in the knees and causes falling back asleep to become a trial for at least an hour afterward.

But this call would not be a wrong number, it would however be the scariest, most horrible call of her lifetime. She answers the phone to hear sobbing voices, voices she is having difficulty discerning the owners of, partly because of the fogginess of sleep and because the voices that are broken in fear and sorrow are like none she is sure she has ever heard before.

It would be minutes before she would understand that it was a friend of her sons who was trying to communicate with her – convey to her - where they had been and what had happened. She could hear the words but she could not seem to grasp their real meaning. It was dark outside, it was 4am in the morning, and all she hears is talk about fun and dancing and music – and now possible death.

There would be broken sentences trying to communicate horrors about guns and death, blood and pain, and mostly still, uncertainty. Her son’s friends would not know where he was, whether among the dead in the floor waiting for identification or on route to the hospital to be saved/healed.

This is the call so many parents, friends, and families received this morning in the AM hours. Calls full of fear and uncertainty, or worse, positive identifications of death.

The FBI is once again calling this an ISIS related event – by a man they had previously (on record) tried to tie to other ISIS related events in the past but were unable to make a positive connection. 
There is no doubt now, for anyone, who this man was or his intentions.

But I will tell you I have been watching the reports about this mass murder in Orlando, Florida all day long – the worst in United States history they state. And what I saw today was a change that I’m just not sure anyone else is giving enough credit.

I saw a line with reported numbers of 3000 plus people, all standing for hours to give/donate blood to the victims who are fighting to stay alive. Fifty plus LGBTQ people are still fighting for their lives and people – old/young/straight/heterosexual people – are standing in line to donate blood.

That one bright light gives me hope for the rest of us. And God knows we need one right now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Master of the Ring

I’m sure his opponents can attest that he stung like a bee. A bee, a bomb to the face, or a missile to the mid-section. For all the mouth that he was, for all the trash-talking that he did, and for all the teasing and in-your-face taunting that was part of his show – he backed it all up with the punch of silence which in return brought the response of a roar from the crowd.

It also brought roars and cheers and fist-pumping from couches, man caves and bars all over America. People would scorn all that talk, and begrudge all that bragging, but no one could deny that talent when Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali would put in his mouth piece, shrug off his robe, stand-up in his corner and pop his gloved-fists together – and smile - right before he skipped into the middle of the ring.

That bell would ding and the dance was on. Rope-a-dope had a whole new meaning; no one had ever seen the likes of a heavy-weight boxer who was as light on his feet, and could move around as gracefully as he did. Most heavy-weight boxers would stand in the middle, feet firmly planted on the ground, and the most they would do was shuffle their feet around, never really lifting them off the mat, and rotating their hips in place.

Muhammad Ali taught them all that a new cat was in town, and that he liked to move, to dance, to shuffle his feet, and to rumble in the jungle. He was intelligent and he was talented and it began way before he fought in the famous “Thrilla in Manila” fight – in 1960 he was an Olympic gold medalist and a National Golden Gloves champion.

His professional career took many twisted roads with sharp turns – as he was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War in 1967 and stripped of his title and his license to box professionally was revoked.  He was also found guilty of violating Selective Service laws and was sentenced to five years in prison and $10,000.00. He never served a day of time and in 1971 the US Supreme Court overturned his violation in a unanimous decision.

He would go on to resume his fighting career which would make him millions but also in the end leave him with a debilitating disease called Parkinson’s. The human head can certainly only take so many hits before damage becomes permanent.

But he retired and continued his life works as a hostage negotiator in 1990 and in 2000 would be appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace and in 2005 presented with Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W Bush.

To me, he was always the masterful, male muscled ballerina with a powerful punch, who commanded the stage of any boxing ring, every time he stepped into it. He was a prime-time entertainment show everywhere he went – and in 1996 when he lit the torch at the opening Olympic ceremonies in Atlanta, Georgia – he was one of my all-time favorite sport personality’s still.

Fly on Butterfly, fly on.

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

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Turbeville Here We Come!

Well, it’s that time again! Today I’ll begin packing for our road-trip, as my husband and I are leaving tomorrow morning. We’re headed to Turbeville, South Carolina to see family, attend our bonus granddaughter’s graduation dinner, visit our niece who is pregnant with her very first baby, see that great-grandson who has already grown in leaps and bounds, and just have a good old fun-packed weekend!

Of course I will pack too many clothes - enough for two weeks instead of three days, and there will be a “snack” bag filled with enough goodies for an eight hour drive since my loving husband’s stops are few and far between.

And last but not least, my handy dandy box fan that goes everywhere I go, when I stay overnight. I’m sure the hotel will provide air conditioning (or else I surely wouldn’t have booked it) but you can NEVER have enough air – or soothing noise – come bed-time.

I’m so excited that I’ll have my new camera in tow this visit. I always like to ride those old country roads and take pictures of places that were so important and memory-filled for my husband when he was a little boy.

I love hearing stories about walking dirt roads, running/racing barefoot for small–change-winnings and how safe it was to roam those same dirt roads til late at night when he was young.

I love riding by all the tobacco fields, still in progress and growing today; as he shows me the fields that he and his family worked when he was growing up – from sun-up til scorching sun-down.

My husband was one of seven children, him being the closest to the baby. He had two sisters old enough to stand-in as Mama’s from time to time, and his oldest sister Louise still likes to tell stories of rocking him to sleep in an old straight chair. As she tells it, if he wouldn’t close his eyes, she would reach up and shut his lids for him! My husband still swears it was the thunking/clunking noise of that chair hitting the floor that lulled him to sleep all those years ago.

I personally think that’s why he can sleep through most anything now. He also has a saying when I complain about not being able to sleep “all you have to do his close your eyes, and shut your mouth” – that I swear to sugar he got from Louise as well.

There are only three of them left now, my husband WD (who they call “W” just like President Bush) his brother Allen, and sister Louise. But I love listening to the old tales they weave and it sounds like they were a tight knit bunch of folks back in the day.

My only worry about leaving for a few days, is what my poor flowers will look like when I get back home – because I surely cannot count on my child to help water them. My plan is to practically drown them before I leave, so maybe they can sustain until I get back – and pray for afternoon showers! 

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