this was mama. one of those rare moments when silliness took over her staunch demeanor. she was a tough lady, one that rarely shared emotion, but when she did, you soaked it up as it if might never come again.
this is what i posted on facebook this mother's day:
Mama never cussed - at least not until she turned 95 and then evidently she saw reason to let one slip now and then. Mama never judged - never to my face although I'm sure she spoke her indomitable opinions to the mirror in the bathroom on countless occasions. Mama never told me she loved me - not out loud anyway, for her 1920s upbringing didn't see outward expression of affection necessary. But I knew, I knew she did. The cards with her jagged signature of "I Love You Mama" sit safety in boxes. So just in case I need a little push, a little strength of character, I go to the boxes, run my finger over the signature, and say "I love you, too." Happy mama's day, mama. I miss you and need you more with each passing day. Oh, by the way, my roses bloomed just in time for this day. You always said that was the true test of a good rose.
a kind woman, who i do not know, responded with wisdom beyond mine:
Judy, the dear ones of that era did not express love for fear the object of affection would be taken away. Your mama, my mama, they loved us too much to say it out loud. Now everybody says , "love you, bye," when they hang up the phone. Somehow the phrase doesn't mean the same as the signature of an elderly Mama who had lived long enough, without losing you, to be able, at last, to write "I love you," out loud.
how it is that she knows my mama? maybe because hers enveloped the same character, the same drive, the same conviction. and it's is true, the "love you, bye" flows from my mouth when i end conversation with my children, my husband. i will think of this more carefully next time.
it's been almost 5 years since i've heard mama's voice, heard the bellowed "aew" when she grabbed my knee, the shake of her head instead of a vocal reprimand, the touch of her beautiful wrinkled hands.
"i love you mama. bye."
It's Easter weekend. although it's cool, spring is coming on soon, and I can't be more ready. My thoughts have been living in the past for most of this week for unexplained reasons. Possibly, the popping of the pear trees, the azalea blooms warding off the cold, the aroma of spring floating through the air. and i think of mama and daddy and spring in Clarkesville.
Right around this time of year, I always observed black dots in our pasture. Newborns. dropped whenever time came. Nothing made daddy prouder than waking me way too early in the morning and squealing to "come" see our newest baby calf. He loved on the mama cow and made sure she was as comfy as possible. and he didn't take his eye off the baby until it was on all fours. He was a good daddy.
On Good Friday, we always planted our garden. This meant hours in the field, driving the mule, dropping the corn, and complaining a lot. However, I didn't complain months later as I slathered butter on my perfectly formed ears of sweet corn. I strangely forgot about the heat and the dirt. I still try to plant my few tomato plants on Good Friday, a long way from the ten acres I walked as a child. I thought everyone planted on this exceptional day. If you were southern, you did. Occasionally, I forget that everyone is not that lucky.
It was the sunrise service on Sunday morning that always tested my faith. Rising early on the weekend never made sense to me, but on this weekend, it did. In the middle of a golf course, on the tallest hill around, church members watched the sun squeak over the hill. I grumbled, but that defined my Easter. Then, daddy and me would rush home. Id put on my bonnet, my froufrou of a dress and my always too-tight shinny black shoes, and we'd head to church. As I grew older, I sang in the choir - sans froufrou - and it was always the most spectacular song for that morning. After the service, the three of us would then return home where Sunday dinner and laughter would season that day and all the ones that would follow.
My rote movements through the years, I'm afraid, have failed my parents and myself for that matter. I still survey pastures this time of year for the arrival of black dots, and I can't help but smile and remember daddy. I try to plant when the weather allows, but I have left behind the sunrise service and songs of resurrection. I can't say why, only that I know it's not as I had intended. I watch, I listen, I inhale the heralds of spring and I remember. I stand amazed at how years change us, how circumstances mold us, and how what we think will never vanish, always does. Although my stirrings are quite different than before, the hollows those early traditions carved in my heart remain. There's not a day that goes by that I don't recall from where I came and know that with a little effort and inspiration, I can be back on that tall hill beside daddy watching the sunrise.
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.
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.