One thing I have found to be mostly true, as true as any rule can be, is that in the South, you are either proud or humble. There is very little in-between.
You know the feeling I am sure. You find something that somewhere back in time meant so much but years have passed and you have forgotten its existence. Then you find it and it’s like running into an old friend who reminds you of happy times.
One Sunday while sitting around the dinner table, Louise and I began to tell Daddy stories, the ones that stretched back to the early days of his preaching life. Since I was born 12 years after he ‘made a preacher’, as our folks said back then, I could only contribute what he had told me about those days not what I had seen.
When you add the opportunity to go off to college or move out on your own, we’re fooled into thinking that we’re mature enough and wise enough to make decisions that will affect the rest of our lives.
My grandmother – Daddy’s mother – was sometimes called “crazy” by others who didn’t quite understand her eccentric ways. Of course, in the South, we are proud of such a label for it means that we are interesting and worthy of being the center of coffee and cake conversation.
For those of you who are faithful to this column, you will, no doubt, recall that last year I made brand new resolutions. I tossed out the old ones that I had failed at repeatedly and trudged ahead to new ones, optimistically believing that success was mine for taking.
I realized this year, though, that there is one day of the Christmas season that never disappoints me. In fact, it is always warmer, more loving, memorable, and joyous than I expect. That’s the day that I put up my favorite of three trees.
Whether this has been a year that leaned more toward blessings or tribulations, give thanks for it. Because even the hard times are leading to better times and when you get to those better days, you’ll celebrate them with pure joy.
The American Dream. Pure and simple. Why aren’t we doing more to extol it these days? Why aren’t we celebrating the opportunities of a country where the poor can rise mightily?
It’s been 20 years without Davey Allison and I, at last, am able to laugh at his antics rather than recalling just the sorrow. And there are the lessons, too, that he taught.
I do not believe it is a coincidence that our family from Mama and Daddy’s generation lived, for the most part, long and healthy lives. There were no preservatives in their food and their water came either directly from mountain streams or deep wells.
When the military guard stood at attention at Mr. Hoyt’s casket and taps played, I put my hand over my heart and cried.
She did not squander time on life’s foolish pursuits – shopping for pretty dresses, parties, choosing a new lipstick color or beach vacations. She was, all would agree, a statue for sturdiness, a monument to women who looked life and its troubles squarely in the eye and stared down those challenges.
About the only thing that has changed is that Mama doesn’t make my clothes any more. And that is both a good thing and a bad thing.
This is my South of which I am so proud, a community, broad and vast, where tribulations and triumphs alike are shared.