Randy and I met in the Delta. I am originally from West Helena Arkansas and Randy is from Clarksdale. We are in Clarksdale as I type. We are staying at Randy’s aunt and Uncles home. You know you are a blogger when someone is talking and all you can think is “ I hope I remember this later so I can write about it! “. I was so moved and excited that I grabbed my lap top and started pounding away. Some things are just too precious to not be remembered.
As Randy and I drive farther down south we are reminded of our childhood in little ways. We stopped in Conway at a Target store. As I passed one lady, I knew she looked familiar. She had that look like she knew me too. When I passed her again, I couldn’t resist the urge to ask if she was from Helena. She was! I recognized her dialect as soon as she opened her mouth. Every other phrase was “ Yes mam,,” with such respect and southern gentile. She was....
As we drove through Memphis I saw a southern phenomena that I had forgotten- thankfully. Many of the younger African American boys down here wear their jeans down past their buttocks. Why? They have to hold them up with their hands or they will fall to the ground. I don’t understand. And to top it all – they don’t even have cute underwear on. Boy! PULL UP YOUR PANTS!
As we arrived at Randy’s Uncle Gene and Aunt Steele’s home, it was like taking a step back in time. I felt like a reporter. I just wanted to have a pen and pencil in hand to write down everything they said. I had a headache and went to bed early the first night – about 7 :30 pm. The next morning I woke up at 3 am. Randy woke up at the same time laughing. He said Uncle Gene wanted to know what time we needed to get up . Randy replied “ Oh about 6 :30.” Uncle Gene said “ Oh, yall sleep in , don’t ya?” Smile…. Now you see what world we are in? As Aunt Steele talked I tried to take mental notes.
One conversation in particular that really struck me and almost brought tears to my eyes was this one. Aunt Steele: Debbie, you know I had cataract surgery. I didn’t know what all I was missing out on. I didn’t need the surgery yet but I wanted to do it while Gene could still drive me to Oxford to the Doctor. ( They have been married for 48 years .) After that surgery it was like I was in a whole new world. I opened my eyes and looked across this Delta land and saw all the colors of the fields and it was so pretty. The blues and the purples just popped. I couldn’t wait to get up wait to get up each day to see what new colors I could see. I would even wake up in the middle of the night , just to look around.
If we all could just see each day like that. I actually was reading a book yesterday about the wonderment and curiosity about children. How each day is a new experience. There are so many things that have become mundane to us - things we take for granted. I guess Aunt Steele , at 76, was like a kid again – seeing things in a whole new way.
I told aunt Steele I was writing about her. She was so exicted that she had to show me her “ book.” She said some important lady said “ A lot of folks in Mississippi cant read but they sure can write!” She too out her book. I was amazed. She had a 4 inch binder FULL of memories. What a treasure for her children and grandchildren and generations to come. This “ book” talked about how her mother used to cook their meals on hot coals from the fireplace. Her favorite meals were biscuits and gravy. To make the meal cook faster her mom would place another sillet on top of the bottom one. We sure have it easy now days.
Aunt Steel loves to talk about her meeting Uncle Gene. She said she was NOT interested. But here she is today. They never leave home and spend the night. She said “ At night we like to be at home together, Gene on his side of the bed and me on mine…”
It is 7:15 am and I feel like I have been up for a full day. We have a concert at 10 am at the Carksdale Library.I am sure there will be more writings about our Mississippi adventures. A step back in time…