Search

red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?

Tag

Alabama

Mountain Creek

 

From the first year of her life, she made the trip up the mountain with her Mama and Daddy. Every spring they traveled up the dirt road to Mountain Creek, riding in an old car of questionable dependability. Windows rolled down, they arrived at the cemetery with their best, and only, Sunday dresses covered in the red dust of a dry Alabama dirt road. They arrived early, long before the church singing began, to clean up, and decorate with freshly picked flowers, the graves of family members.

When she was a toddler, she made the trip one winter, with her mama and daddy, to bury her baby brother. In the spring, they dressed his grave as best they could, and lingered long after the church grew silent.

In the winter of 1967 and ‘68, she made the trip up the mountain twice, exactly two months apart, to bury her mama, and then her daddy. She was only twenty-four years old. After that, the trips up the mountain took on a deeper sadness. A heartbreak for her that will never fully recover.

In the fifty years since leaving her parents there, she has never missed a spring trip to the Alabama mountain. Presently, it’s difficult for her to get around, but she cleans the granite, gently removes the old flowers, and reverently sets about “decorating”, with the new flowers she has brought from Georgia. Beautiful sprays of spring flowers are set upon the gravel covered graves. The dark granite vase is lovingly filled with a burst of colorful blooms. During the prior weeks, she’s put a lot of thought into the flowers she gives her mama, daddy and brother. This year, rather than pinks and yellows, she chose deep red roses, the same color she placed on their graves that first Christmas, in 1968.

She’s in her final years now, and she knows this. She’s worried about who will care for their graves when she’s no longer here. Her concern makes me so sad for her.
I’ve promised her I’ll make sure it gets done, as long as I’m still around. 

 

 

The Bulldog’s #1 Fan

The Dawgs had an unseen assist in the Rose Bowl.

I met Pam Bowman when I was a Delta Delta Delta pledge, a hundred or more lifetimes ago. Bowman, as the Sisters called her, was to be feared. According to the Sisters, she would rip you to shreds if you messed up, and no infraction went unseen:  failed a test, partied too much, didn’t party enough, went out with the wrong guy, behaved in ways unbecoming to the Sisterhood. Whatever it was, Bowman would know, she would deal with you, and it would not be pretty.

Each pledge was granted a meeting with her, I don’t remember it being an optional encounter, but maybe it was. Either way, the meeting was to learn more about what was expected of us, academically and socially, as Tri Delta pledges. I had heard of her before I met her, and what I heard would make Scarlet O’Hara quake in her riding boots. I was expecting to meet Cinderella’s evil stepmother’s younger sister. Or Snow White’s evil Queen.
My appointed time arrived, and I braced myself before entering the meeting room. To my surprise, there was no evil queen in there. What I found was a beautiful, statuesque blonde, a bright, friendly smile, and Southern grace. She was a straight shooter, no doubt. But I respected and appreciated that about her, immediately.

My second year, I transferred to an out of state school, and I never came across Pam again. Not until Social Media became a thing. There are some good things about facebook, and reconnecting with old friends is one of the good things.

Pam and I became “Facebook Friends” five or six years ago. I have loved catching up with her, I had thought of her often over the years and wondered how she had fared in life. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her family through her stories and photos. I especially loved hearing about her husband’s love of the Georgia Bulldogs. She has some good stories. Funny stories. But last year, Chip, Pam’s husband, suddenly, without warning, passed away.
This past fall, Pam mentioned him often, during Georgia’s march to the West Coast and the Rose Bowl. On New Year’s Eve, the eve of the Rose Bowl, she posted something that is worthy of print.

From Pam, December 31, 2017 / 10:52AM

“As many of you know my husband, Chip passed away this year from a heart attack and UGA Dawg cancer. He lived his entire life with a severe case of stage four Dawg cancer. One good thing, even though there was not a cure for Dawg cancer, there was treatment. He knew EVERYTHING there was to know about the Dawg football program from way back in the day until the day he died. One of the worst cases of Dawg cancer I have ever seen. Plus he knew every stat about every UGA sports team. He even watched old games. He saved those games. That’s bad. If they’d had a poker team, he would have even known about that program and stats as well. It was incredible. An extremely bright man. For the family, the aftereffects of a Dawg chemo treatment was either real nasty or real good. If they won, he was ecstatic. If they lost, he would not speak to anyone for almost a week. No kidding. If they played so so or not up to their potential, he didn’t have very much enthusiasm. He hung in there whether the Dawgs had a good or bad season for 59 years. Anyone that knew Chip, was well aware of the fact he did not talk much. To know him was to love him. He was a very quiet and introspective person. One of those type of people, that when he did talk, you’d jerk your head around in disbelief and listen. I spoke more than enough for the both of us anyway. One thing he always said was that the year he died, the Dawgs would win the National Championship. Just to make him mad. Me, Matthew  and Kathleen knew when the season started, this would be the year. Come on DAWGS. #godawgs #UGAgrad #forchopper #forchipprengaman ”

 

By the way, the University of Georgia won the Rose Bowl. #GoDawgs 

Do it one more time, on January 8, 2018.  #forChipPrengaman

 

 

 

The Bird Fighter

barnswallow2

This morning, with a cup of Russian Tea in hand, I called my mom. It’s something I do daily. Most days, we chatter about the day before us, “what are you doing today?” Some mornings, the conversation is a lullaby of memories. Other times, she voices her concerns about the health and well-being of those she loves. Many mornings, she mentions her brothers and sisters….she misses them. The oldest of six, she has one surviving sibling.

Occasionally, our conversation takes a sharp turn. Unintentionally, I say something that whips up her Crawford temper, and she has to “bring me down a notch or two“. It’s ok.

Every now and then, regardless of conversation topic, I hear her with the ears of someone not from the south. Although I am from the south, I hear her with foreign ears and wonder what someone from New York or California would think of her Alabama vernacular. On those mornings I smile and silently shake my head. I learned a long time ago the pointlessness in correcting her. (When we visited the United Kingdom, an agent behind the ticket booth in a London train station asked her: “Where bouts in the states are ya from, M’Lady? Alabama or Tennessee?”

This morning, this is what I heard on the other end of the line:

Mama: Hello
Me: Are you busy?
Mama: Just fightin’ these old birds.
Me: (silent chuckle) What birds?
Mama: Aw, you know. Them ol’ birds that builds nests where they’re not supposed to. (The birds know this Rule of Helen? I wonder…)
Me: (She likes birds, usually, so now I’m curious). What kind of bird is it?
Mama: You know. Them old Mud Birds (Barn Swallows). I put the plant from Jake’s funeral out on the porch yesterday, and they’ve already started buildin’ a nest in it. They orta (ought to) know better than that. That’s a live plant, not no autoficial (artificial) one! Your daddy’s already knocked a nest out of the barn’s porch rafters, now they’re tryin’ to build one on this porch. They’ll mess all over the place! Nobody wants to clean up birds%$t all the time! Well, I need to go so I can get back out here to them birds. Before they build another nest.

So…if you need a good Mud Bird buster….you know who to call.





Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: