red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?


April 2013

Remembering Santa Ray

Santa Ray

I’ll never forget the first time my children visited Santa Ray at Cumberland Mall. Santa laughed a big belly.. Ho! Ho! Ho!… as Lindsey and Garrett walked away from their session with him. He smiled broadly as the kids exclaimed,”That’s him! That’s the real Santa! We saw the Real Santa, Mom! He knew Nanny and Poppy! He’s the Real One”! Santa Ray was my second cousin, and when he saw us standing in line to meet him, he decided to have a little fun. As my children approached Santa’s throne, I heard him say, “Well look who it is! It’s Lindsey and Garrett. I’ve been waiting for you two…and there’s your mommy Danita! Oh, I remember delivering toys to her house when she was a little girl. How are your Nanny Helen and Poppy Grady doing these days? Ho! Ho! Ho! I remember your Nanny Helen when she was a little girl, too! She was a rotten one every now and then! A couple of times she was so mean I wasn’t sure I would be able to leave toys for her. But she always got to acting better right before Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Santa Ray loved family, kids and motorcycles and he loved to laugh. He’ll be missed by many, especially the moms, dads and grandparents who looked forward to sharing his special mix of mischief and merriment with their children. But none will miss him more than his family and friends, those of us who had known the big belly laugh and the contagious sense of humor long before Ray Daniel became Santa Ray.

We’ll miss you, Santa.
May you rest peacefully in the Arms of Jesus.

I Used to Know a Girl

Old Woman2

This morning, while driving thru the springtime green hills of Cassville, I witnessed the most beautiful girl…I’ve seen her before: watering her flowers, tossing feed to her chickens, talking to her dogs. But this morning, she was perched in the ancient swingset that sits on the grass of her sideyard. Her head was topped with an old Atlanta Braves baseball cap and was tilted toward the sky, tufts of silver played around her face. Her shoulders, draped in an old man’s sweater, curved slightly toward the ground. Muck Boots covered her feet, and they pumped slowly, back and forth, moving her to and fro, while she held on to chains with frail hands. I wanted to stop and linger, to watch her, to know more about her, but I didn’t wish to alarm her, so I drove slowly, taking in the sight of her; for she was magnificently beautiful. I wanted to know what she was thinking…Was she longing for former days, when her little ones climbed on her lap and asked to be pushed on swings? Higher, Mama! Higher! Or was her memory older than that? Was she reliving seventy-year old days, when she was a little girl, swinging in the morning sun on homemade rope swings? Was she thinking of the girl she used to know, the one she used to be? The sixteen year-old girl being pushed in a swing by her sweetheart…

I don’t know what she was remembering, or if she was remembering anything at all. But the sight of her made me remember how thankful I am for the beauty of the simpleness of my life. For the pleasure I get from time spent with my loved ones; my family and friends…friends who are also my family. Thankful for the beauty of Cassville, Georgia and the serenity of the Confederate Cemetery I pass everyday. Thankful for Cass Grocery and the hand dipped ice-cream they still offer. Thankful for the sweeter memories of days gone by…and for memories yet to be made.

The Old Woman

As a white candle
In a holy place,
So is the beauty
Of an aged face.

As the spent radience
Of the winter sun,
So is a woman
With her travail done.

Her brood gone from her,
And her thoughts as still
As the waters
Under a ruined mill.

Joseph Campbell

Cassville  Confederate Cemetery 093

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