I’m sitting beside Mama’s hospital bed watching her sleep and thinking about the heritage of love and self-sacrifice she’s given this family. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the moment, but I keep thinking about some words I wrote this week about family. It has me wanting to share them with any of you who may not follow Southern Belleview. (FYI, Southern Belleview is a site where I join four other authors who are “down write southern” in a weekly free-for-all on whatever topic we decide to launch. I would love it if you would sign up over there, too!) This week we did an exercise where you develop your unique biography by filling in the blanks of a template. Here’s mine.
Where I’m From
I am from a matchbox house on a dirt road soothed by an attic fan with noisy, rhythmic, surround sound breeze.
I am from Grandma’s blue hydrangeas and scratchy green cotton stalks dripping with early morning dew and forming gracious canopies around your head while you chop cuckleburs at their feet.
I am from “Chase Don’t Touch the Ground” in Papa’s equipment shed and “That reminds me of a story”, from Papaw Stone preaching Jesus long and loud, from Mississippi’s Charlotte Ann the Forestry Queen and Louisiana’s James Ed carrying the boot-tough genes of mountain people transplanted to the Delta.
I am from women toting a meat and three sides to fields white unto harvest where busy men nonetheless braked for midday feasts spread across tailgates and tuckered out children napped in foot-boards, vinyl seats, and warm back dashes of moving vehicles, from “sit up pretty” and “drying it up unless you wanted something else to cry about.”
I am from the second pew left hand side, VBS, and “Deep and Wide.”
From stories of a gritty woman birthing number ten, nightgown of number nine secured ‘neath the same bed’s frame, chubby honey coated fingers occupied with a feather. I’m from this anchored boy child growing up and choosing fatherhood after blood parent tired of real world living with a young wife and stair-step girl children.
I am from black and white photos heaped in card board boxes, hymns sung around a well-worn piano, family stories told more times than a few, and long, tall shadows cast by one generation challenging the next to remember who we are and where we’re from.
Here’s the link to the Writing Exercise “Where I’m From” — If you compose yours, I’d love to read it.