Sunday, June 25, 2017


This morning I was missing my parents an awful lot and I hate going to the graveyard because I know they're not there.  Instead I chose to wander around the cabin up and down the steps that I've climbed a million times in my life.  The walls are gone upstairs and it's one big open space which is gorgeous.  As I wandered around looking through the windows that I crawled out of as a teenager, memories came flooding back.  

There was a huge attic fan in the window when we were little and us kids slept up there.  I can still see it in my mind and feel the breeze.  We played musical bedrooms as the years went by and at one time the entire family slept upstairs so we could have a den in addition to the living room.  Both of my parents snored like a freight train and they were right outside my door.  Sometimes I'd cover my head with a pillow just to shut out the noise.  

Tommy had the little cubby of a room with the slanted ceiling until I left for college then he promptly took my space.  They painted it a hideous dark blue and had to have a do-over because it was so bad.  The kitchen is where most of the action took place because my mama was a cook like you wouldn't believe.  This time of year there was fresh produce from daddy's garden and she would cook what we called "red faced suppers" where she would sweat in that tiny kitchen with every eye on the stove full plus cornbread in the oven.  

The real beauty is in the living room where all the walls are original logs and the ceilings gleaming cypress, all cut from the farm.  My favorite picture is of me and my dousins Donna and Katherine Anne sitting on the back porch steps with a puppy.  That was before the porch got closed in and a den added onto the back.   The fence is gone now, but once upon a time my Ky cousin Debbie kicked our horse in the wrong place and he took off with her as Jimbo jumped through the wire to rescue her fallen self.  

I remember swinging a little bit too high and getting the breath knocked out of me when I hit the ground.  That was a scary thing for a kid.  Daddy built us a treehouse in the persimmon out front and we had loads of fun with that even "camping" out on occasion.  Back then I didn't worry about snakes and was just all about the adventure.

There was a long white wooden fence across the yard that had to be painted ever so often and that job got passed among all three kids according to who was willing.  The strawberry patch right next to us was a cash cow for the three of us one year when we stood there and collected dimes from people who picked their own.  One day I was playing in the ditch by the road and my beagle Nosey was laying in the middle of the road resting on a hot summer day.  A drunken farmer ran over and killed her right in front of my eyes.  

There was always somebody getting stuck or stranded out there and our house got the bulk of cries for help.  One night Daddy went to the door to find a very drunk man wanting help and when we heard a big thud Mama screamed to high heaven "Billy!!!"  We thought for sure he'd been attacked.  Being the good soul that he was he got the man unstuck and he was on his way to wherever.  

I am an orphan now.  Even at the age of 61 that's a very sad feeling yet I keep calling back the memories and know that they are with me in spirit.  I can still see my Daddy coming through the back door in coveralls on a wintry Christmas Day for breakfast after checking on the cows and calves, often delivering them with a chain.  There was a chicken house for a little while but that went away after I got flogged.  

I wouldn't trade my heritage for all the tea in China and I feel blessed that my own daughter was raised in the same idyllic setting making biscuits with her MeMaw and riding on the tractor with Grandaddy.  I so wish they could be here to see Reaves when she is born.  


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