It's an amazing August morning. The sun is shining and although it would be great to have some rain on my crunchy grass, I'll take the sunshine. A slight breeze blows through me as a sweep the front porch (so like my mother). There's even a stray dog there looking terribly hungry and lost; I quickly grab some bread from the kitchen and hope he takes the bait. He hides in the corner and an hour later, the bread is gone and so is he.
Today is one of those milestones for my husband that is calendared later in life. It was two years ago today that his mom,Veta, went home to Neil; and automatically, I think of my mom, three years ago December, who journeyed home. Days like today become a benchmark for children. A day that for some reason we judge all other days upon. A day when a part of one's heart that has always been within a stone's throw, leaves. That seems so odd, something so stable, someone so important is suddenly gone and life must continue.
I remember when daddy died almost 25 years now, I watched as they closed the top of the casket, a movement very much like one of those slow-motion moments in a horror film - a sign that something ominous was behind the door or on the phone. One inch, then two. As the slick-haired, funeral type physically lowered the top, I felt my body following his direction. I remember thinking how can life ever be the same. It did. The next day the sun rose and cars were actually seen on the highways, and life went on without daddy.
The cycle of life continues, and it's okay. I will be okay. I have to keep telling myself that, that this is the way the good Lord intended it to be. What remains will be a testament to the life lived. But no matter the common sense thought, tears still fall and chairs remain empty.
That's when we gather up all the moments over the past fifty-or-so-years, hold them close and never forget. These will carry us through each day, beyond the shadows and away from the fears. Thank you mama, Veta and all the others that have left. I will be okay because of you.
Once every four or five weeks, my jersey-born husband drives his juiced up Trans Am into town and pulls over to the only barber shop within miles of our home. Right smack dab downtown, on the corner of School and Main. He walks in fuzzy and walks out coiffed to perfection. And that procedure includes an air compressor.
After hearty conversation of summer heat and the neighbors found on the police blotter, the cut is done and it all comes down to the 'blow'. She grabs the long blue hose and lets him have it, blowing microscopic pieces of hair from one end of the parlor to the other. People sit and read their papers, unshaken by the blast of air that inevitably whisks right by their ears. They pay it no never mind and wait for their turn in the chair.
The South is an amazing place. I forget that it runs through my veins, sometimes right up until the moment an air compressor becomes part of an unconventional salon experience. We're weird, I get it, but we're solid, too. We carry our traditions out the door and hope no one flinches when we shout our 'y'all' and 'ya hear' on a daily basis. Come to think of it, those words warm my heart, just like remembering the smell of country ham cooking and fluffy biscuits baking in my mama's kitchen.
I try to convince my husband that he is truly a Southerner now. After almost 20 years of being in the thick of our drawl, you can't help but become one of 'us'. Every now and then, he'll say my version of 'why' - always a multi-syllable word - and that confirms my suspicions. He'll try to deny it, but I know better.
Another reason I know for sure? I'll bet my life that his hair cuts will always include an air compressor.
Whether it is exploring this amazing world or being content on my own piece of real estate near Athens, Georgia, I'm spinning stories and fashioning tales from a Southern perspective. As an editor and writer, I get to meet incredible people and share their stories. As a photographer, I get to cement these moments in time. As a wife and mother, I'm always excited to see what's around the next corner, For it's anything but ordinary.