I Hear the Train a Comin’ #2

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Railroad Park – Birmingham, AL – 2015

 

It’s been proven that the sense of smell is closely linked to memory. I’ve found, personally, that sound can trigger the floodgates, also.

The train that runs behind my house is a comforting sound to me, though it’s so loud that if I’m outside I can’t carry on a conversation until it passes.  The clack and squeal of the wheels and the whistle echoing off the rock embankment and through the woods takes me back to the summers of my youth. I am once more eleven years old, riding the Dahlonega Mine Train at Six Flags Over Georgia. That’s was after standing in a line that snaked back and forth for what seemed like forever with my brothers, only to get almost to the front of the line and have my little brother start crying in fear, refusing to ride. So, we got out of line, delivered him to Mom and Dad, and started all over again. But it was worth it. I never tire of the thrill of a roller coaster, though I have to refrain from those that turn upside down because of my motion sickness tendency..

I have other train memories, real trains and not just pretend ones. But this is one of the happiest.

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Thoughts inspired by MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY

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This is the third book I’ve read by Fredrik Backman. Not sure if this or A Man Called Ove is my favorite.  This one is story with lots of characters, which gives me hope for the book I’ve written that all is not lost. It’s main character is a child, but every character is a rich part of the story.

“…. because the people who reach the end of their days must leave others who have to live out their days without them.” — Frederick Backman

There is death in this story, but it it necessary for the story, just like in our lives. I am living out my days without a number of people who I wish were till here. I wish Cathy was here because her sense of adventure and love of music matched mine. I wish Debbie was here to leave me long, drawn out messages on voicemail. I wish Betty was here to enjoy watching me eat Key Lime pie and to tell us that “Larry says Hi!” And that Larry was here to say Hi and listen because he was always interested in everybody. I wish Charlie was here to teach E how to fish.

I wish Mamaw was here so I could ask her about what happened in 1938. I wish Great-Aunt Marie was here because where she was love was. And I’d even like to hear her burp again. I wish Dad was here to teach his great-grandkids all his nonsensical sayings. I wish Mom was here for so many reasons, I can’t even begin. So I’ll just say she was the one who always asked how Loretta was doing. And she would have liked Ruby just as much.

So I live out my days without them. I take Ruby now on my adventures and listen to lots of music with my husband. I think of Betty every time I have Key Lime anything. I’ve reached out to other relatives, some of whom I only recently met, to ask about 1938 and many other things. My brothers and I carry on with Dad’s sayings, and Mom’s jokes. But my voicemail still stays pretty empty.

 

Bell Camp: Pre-Day One

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At Memorial Park – Athens, Georgia

After our family reunion we were privileged to have our grandchildren for a whole week! We had a wonderful time with them. We stayed in Athens at the Hyatt for a few days which was a great location seeing a bit of Athens. We walked to the Mellow Mushroom for supper, then walked around some more afterwards, fulfilling my desire to reconnect with a bygone Athens and give the kids a little family history along the way.

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Mellow Mushroom – Athens, Georgia

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Absorbing wisdom from Athena

When I was a kid my Great Aunt Marie worked at the A & A Bakery in Athens. When we visited in the summers we would often pick her up from work in the afternoon when we arrived,. My Grandma lived in a small apartment on Vine Circle with just one bedroom. So, my older brother and I would often spend the night with Aunt Marie. We’d have great breakfasts, look through old photos albums and watch her grainy black and white TV. That’s where we saw the Great Wallenda cross the Tallulah Gorge.  I also remember  the nights of sleeping in the creaky twin bed in the same room with Aunt Marie.

Aunt Marie was known for her belching, which we mimicked in love, but even more for being the kindest person I’ve ever known. She loved life and never had an disparaging word for anyone. I’m so glad I have Marie for my middle name and strife to live up to her example.

I wanted to find the location of the bakery and was so excited when I did. It’s now a bar, which is sad, but I went inside and tried to imagine how it used to look.

 

We also saw the Georgia Theatre where Mom worked when she and Dad were dating. It was devastated by a fire in 2009 and rebuilt. The story of my Great Uncle Eugued coming by to see her there is a classic. He’d say, “Give me some sugar,” and embarrass her to death. Whenever I think of Uncle Eugued (we pronounced it like U-kerd) I think of Willie Nelson. I have no pictures of him except for my faint memories. He played the banjo and chewed tobacco and  Mom always told me how intelligent he was. He’d read The New York Times and other newspapers, but try to hide them from people, as if he didn’t want them to know that side of him. Quite the opposite from most people I think.

 

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Georgia Theatre – Athens, Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t Separate

 

Can’t Separate

 

Can’t separate me from the past

my grandfather’s desertion

the tenacity of my grandmothers

the stories told and retold

by the aunts who remember  

 

Can’t separate me from my childhood

Dad’s bellowing and invented words

Mom’s steadfastness and silly jokes

brothers by my side, happy or not

supper in the kitchen every night

 

Can’t separate me from those cousins

who made paper dolls for me

we swam and skated and pretended

and whispered into the night

those first and forever friends

 

Can’t separate me from my husband

who made a new family with me

who grew and stumbled by my side

the one who really knows me

and loves me anyway

 

Can’t separate me from my offspring

flesh of my flesh who look like their dad

my babies grown up too soon

across state lines and time zones

in joy and sorrow, mine

 

Can’t separate me from this next generation

the little ones who let me love on them

these two with bits of me inside

this hope for the future

this family of mine

 

Written April, 2017

Monday Music #8

I haven’t written  a Monday Music since October, so I thought it was about time.

Over the years my kids have made me a little collection of Mix-CDs. The song I’m posting today is on one made by my youngest. It’s a fun tune, especially for those of us who grew up or dated in cars with bucket seats.

When we got married, my husband had just gotten his first car – a used Dodge Polara, early 70s model. In the picture below you can see it in all it’s glory, headed for our honeymoon. The two guys on the left are my brothers, the other two are brothers from down the street where we all grew up.  Hubby had a standing joke about his COD turn: Come Over Darlin’.

 

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And, a few years later, just like in the song, we had a Chevy Malibu that looked much like the one below.

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Enjoy!

Little Boy

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PAD Day 4 was to write a portrait poem. This one’s for E.

 

 

Little Boy

I know you like smoked cheddar,

but not that weird cheese, Ricotta

you know every Star Wars character

and superhero

but you didn’t know your great-grandpas

your cow-lick is untamable,

your curiosity insatiable

you are lanky and heavy footed

you love videos that are silly

and reading in bed

you have a wonderful laugh,

but it stays buried inside too often

when you sleep you sleep hard,

then you are up with the sun

you are the little boy

I will always love

 

 

Thoughts Inspired by This is Us #2: Moments

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S2/E11    –   “The Fifth Wheel”

While Kevin and his mom are talking he backpedals a bit, saying  “I didn’t have an unhappy childhood.”

“It wasn’t as good as I thought,” Rebecca says sadly. “But I know we had moments,” (and we see them sleeping together on the floor during a thunderstorm) “you and me, Kevin. I know we did. I feel it in my bones.”

Thinking about moments with each of my children. The scene of Rebecca and Kevin sleeping on the floor reminded me of the months of my last pregnancy. The two older kids were in school, so me and #3 had a lot of time to spend together. He was my sidekick, my shadow, my nap buddy. After lunch and before his siblings got home, we would snuggle up together on the couch, often to the drowsiness inducing sound of the dishwasher running in the kitchen. These were sweet moments.

There was the terrifying moment I had with #4, holding hands with this eleven year old girl as we rode in the ambulance together after our car wrecked, this child who was thrown out of the back window. Those seconds when I could not see her were the longest I’ve ever had. God’s grace was on us that night, cushioning the landing of my youngest in the tall grasses on the side of the road.

Then there was the moment when I landed in Shannon, Ireland. My older daughter, who took a different flight, had arrived an hour earlier. She had made a CD of the Duhks for me to listen to on my flight over the Atlantic. I was so excited and relieved at the same time when I saw her there waiting for me, and the next week was an adventure I’ll always cherish.

A moment I remember with my eldest was in 2003 when I went to visit him in DC. We were riding around, seeing a few sights, and he was concerned because I was so quiet. I didn’t realize then how sad I felt – I couldn’t put a name on it, I couldn’t call it depression. But, he reached over and held my hand. Now, 15 years later he is a nurse, often working with patients who are suffering depression. He stills shows that empathy. He knows.