Saturday, July 28, 2012

It’s Like Molasses…

Last week I got to take a trip with my mom and sisters to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I hadn’t been in 9 years! 9 years! There are very few things I can say I haven’t done in 9 years…That’s a long time. My family spent several New Year’s Eve celebrations and summer vacations in Hilton Head; that place holds so many memories.
It’s the place we survived Y2K (the resort provided us with a flashlight-just in case-that year). It’s the place as teenagers my sister and our friends watched MTV and sang Dave Matthew’s “When the World Ends” at the top of our lungs. It’s the place we giggled sliding down the slide in the pool. It’s the place Dad drove the mini van under the parking garage with the “walrus”(one of those hard storage bins that attaches to the top of cars) still on the van. It didn’t exactly fit. Oops. It’s the place we sat around a campfire singing “Do Your Ears Hang Low”, while I sat awkwardly with a mouthful of braces. It’s the place Dad taught us how to play pool and ping pong.



On the way home we had to spend a little time in Savannah. I love the history of old southern cities. The streets are steaming with stories to tell. We took a  trolley tour and sweated nearly to death, but it was fun.
These two are the funniest people I know. It’s like an improv show every second of every day.

The childhood home of Flannery O’Connor-I freaked a little.

We had a great time and couldn’t stop reciting this scene from The Office.

Summer is quickly coming to an end, but I can't help but stop and think how thankful I am for all of the fun it has held for me this year. I've spent time with friends and family, traveled to new places and to old favorites. I've laughed a lot. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fortune Forecast—Lucky Stars…

I kept a real pen and paper journal for most of my teenage years. Most nights before bed I would snuggle in my bed and write down the happenings of the day or week or month. I would like to say that I’ve found them all and read my eloquent teenage words that should have labeled me child prodigy. I can’t. A few weeks ago I found a couple of them at my parents’ house and brought them home with me. I read through them today. Most of the entries read like this, “OMG. Billy is mad at Susie because Susie went to the mall with me instead of to the movies with him, but she had gone to the movies with him like 7 times this month and to the mall with me only like 3 times this month. I wish I could drive. I wonder what we’re going to do this weekend. I’m bored.”

The trifles of my teenage hood are really disgusting and trite. There were no great revelations. The most it would seem I learned from my experiences in those years is based on internet searches from quotations about friendship and little poems about how friends are forever.

Then there are the entries that are surprisingly prophetic. The entry written on October 7, 2002 states, “ I’ve been accepted to The University of Alabama!…It is so exciting, but it’s kinda like WHOA! major reality check, I’m going to college! It’s like the first step to making my life happen! My dream right now is to graduate from Alabama…get my master’s degree…then maybe move closer to home like in Birmingham.”
It’s weird. It’s exactly what happened. Some of the details I left out here were incorrect, but the main thoughts actually happened. I suppose that means I made my dreams come true. They happened. It’s possible. I don’t mean to say that all of my dreams have come true by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s exciting to look back at my 17 year old dreams and see that they’ve come to fruition.

A few other funny insights in hindsight that I found tucked in that journal: I found a copy of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall.” This blog is named after that poem. It’s funny to think that the last real journal I ever kept had a little key to a different kind of journal I would keep in the future. It’s like Doc Brown placed it there himself. Even though I hope I do more than record the details of each day, I guess I’m not as different now as I would like to think. IMG_0803[1]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pellet Guns, Axes, and Thread

When I was a kid, my parents would drop my sisters and me off at my grandmother’s house while they went out on dates. We called her Memaw. She lived in a small white house surrounded by trailers, woods, and a gravely road. My grandfather, whom I never knew, built that house. She kept a pellet gun beside her front door—for cats and squirrels. On the other side of the door was a gigantic deep freezer that I used to sit on and climb on to look in. She froze everything.

She had a screened in porch with a swing. She had a little pre-made red barn where she kept her prized lawn mower and tiny axes. We didn’t get to stay at her house quite as much after my parents came back to find their two small daughters holding tiny axes and hacking away at the fig trees in the front yard. The best fig preserves were made from those trees.

She had real wood floors and a room with a loose board. There were treasures underneath—marble bags, little tools, some small toys. That same room held her sewing machine. It was an old Singer built into a sewing table. It was metal and thick and heavy and real. I couldn’t lift it out of the table when I first wanted to learn. The table had the smallest drawers with wooden round knobs that held scissors and thread and zippers and ric rac. The closet in the room had an unpainted wood door. There was a shoe rack attached to the back that I’m certain was never full, but I remember thinking that those shoes were so special. They must have been fancy because she almost always wore white Keds.They were so valuable hanging there to be worn for important events. She had a few “suits” in that closet. She called all of her outfits “suits.” There was also a white garbage bag that we would drag out of that closet when we wanted to sew. It was full of fabric scraps of varied patterns and sizes. I can smell it—all closet heat wrapped in plastic like an antique store. She always let us pick our fabric and our projects. One day I blushed and my heart beat a little too fast and I asked her to sew me a bra. She did. She taught me to sew the clasps in the back and the elastic around the band. We mostly made doll clothes and pillows and bags.

Even though our projects were not huge, she always let me thread the machine. She taught me how to sew a straight line and clip the corners of a pillow so it would “turn out.” It was a thrill to get to run the foot pedal and hear the noise of the machine like a little train full of thread.

A few weeks ago my sister asked me to teach her how to sew. I knew I had big shoes to fill. I bought a new Singer after Memaw died. Even though I hadn’t used one in years, I didn’t want to forget. It was a piece of her I couldn’t lose. So my sister and I sat at the machine. She watched me wind the bobbin, thread the machine, and sew a few stitches. Then she took over like she had been born with a needle in her hand. We made some new pillow covers for our parents’ couches. Daddy kept walking through the room with a smile. He said he knew Memaw was smiling somewhere. She had to be.