Monday, February 8, 2010

before haiti was cool

One of my all time favorite books is "All Over But the Shoutin" by Rick Bragg. I've loaned it to somebody and it never found its' way home evidently. His writing details the joys and trials of growing up southern in a way that not many authors can capture without making us seem a bit touched....which we certainly can be. Most of us aren't hillbillies, but there's a lot of them around and we're all friends and neighbors. I suppose that after reading that book, something inside of me was born that will someday turn into a book of my own. Many southern traditions have gone by the high school sororities and gift teas for the bride. The heirlooms don't get dragged out to the table nearly as often as when I was a child. My mom was of an era where ladies were expected to act like ladies and treat each other with respect and love, except for the occasional hair pulling. We went to church and had Easter egg hunts and every holiday was special. I have failed to keep those traditions going for BG, instead trying to learn, along with her, some new ones. That way it's not too hard when the old school stuff disappears completely. And that is coming.

My house is full of odd pieces of antique furniture, inherited from my grandmother and others. There are stacks of linens neatly folded but kinda wrinkled, sitting in wait for the ironing board. The lady that helped raise us used to do the ironing while Mama worked and she would sprinkle them with water out of a coke bottle to make the steam. She also made killer chocolate pies and got exasperated with us farm kids.
Her family is still spread out on the other side of the road, north to the river. Our mayor, so to speak, is Mozella...the only elder left in that family. Her kids are running just like us to make sure her days here are safe and happy. Even though it feels like I'm a personal shopper sometimes, I wouldn't trade this time for a kazillion bucks. I am learning from them how to grow old gracefully and with dignity and gratitude for a blessed life. Those are lessons that money cannot buy.

I visited my friend up the road this morning and her house is a wreck, but almost finished on the remodeling project. BEAUTIFUL. There's something about a tile floor that just makes me want to walk barefoot. We missed the major part of the snow but school was out anyway because, well. You know. It used to irritate the hell out of me when BG was in school because they would always "call it off early" instead of shutting the thing down. That meant scrambling for a baby-sitter in the middle of the day and leaving work to do so. Fun times!

Ya'll keep looking for spring. I know it's out there somewhere.


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