I went up to the old home place and went through pictures that my mama had saved during the years. I sorted them out into little piles for each child. ( Now I have got to get them to them.)
Mama never put her pictures in neat little photo albums like most folks do. She had an old cardboard box that she would put them in. Ever so often, as children, she would let us get that old cardboard box out and look through them. It was so hot the day that I went up there and the pictures were no longer in the old cardboard box that I remember as a child, but haphazardly thrown into an old foot locker. I guess the old shoe box either got too little or it fell apart. Sorting those old photographs seem to take forever and some I just had to play ‘guess who’ to know which pile it might belong in. (People, PLEASE write the name of the person or persons in the picture on the back of your photos!! And while you are at it, include the year. )
On the back of one of the pictures of my son Daniel, taken when he was two years old, mama had written (in her beautiful penmanship) all the nicknames she had called him as a baby! Names that I had long ago forgotten, but came back to me as soon as I read them.
Down near the bottom of the trunk, I found an article written by Celestine Sibley that mama had cut out of the Atlanta Constitution. That daily newspaper was her one little luxury that she allowed herself back there on Horseshoe Bend. She may have done without almost everything else, but by gosh she got her daily paper to read, bless her heart. It was also the only times that I remember my mama actually sitting down for any length of time. Ask anyone who knew her and they will tell you that she was always up and doing something. She loved reading Celestine Sibley, Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck and would often read them aloud to me. So I too grew to love the very same writers; Lewis Grizzard being my favorite.
I continued having her daily paper and the Herald Journal delivered to her at the nursing home for many years. For as long as she could read and understand, I made sure that she had her paper. That was a promise I made to her and also to myself.
Out in the country, back in the old days, my mama would sit at the table with her cup of coffee reading the newspaper every morning. That coffee would be so strong that it could walk to town and back, as my daddy would say! She would drink that strong coffee all day long, in summertime as well as wintertime, hardly ever drinking any water. She use to say she didn’t like the taste of water! ha! Now, I agree that water may be good for your body, but whenever I hear someone say that you need to drink so many glasses of water everyday…I just smile and nod my head and think about my mama living to be 88 years old on that strong as molasses coffee!
Thank You God for the years I had with my precious mama and daddy. I only wish that I had used them more wisely. You know, if your parents are still living…go see them, go talk to them face to face, ask them questions about their parents, their grandparents, about their childhood and the days of their youth…
Do this before all you have left are some old photographs in a foot locker.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL.