To New York City, once I went to do a photo shoot for the cover of a book.
Being a child of the '70s, television has a powerful influence on me. It can even test the core of my Southern woman being, as it did recently.
An e-mail arrived one day from a dear, old friend who was once my boss when he was managing editor of a daily newspaper where I worked during college and which was later my first full-time job.
From my hotel room in Knoxville, Tenn., once, I phoned in to check on the girls: Mama and Dixie Dew.
When my niece, Nicole, decided it was time to separate Zoe, who was nearing the age of 2, from her pacifier, she consulted the lunar calendar.
Too often I used to stop by Mama's and find her with that look in her eye. I'd know it the moment I walked in, so I silently curse myself for picking that time to drop by.
Several years ago, an obituary in the Atlanta paper caught my eye and I clipped it out. I ran across it recently and, again as then, I found myself fascinated by how it summed up the man who died and what that summation says about our society.
You may recall past columns where I wrote of my friend, Stevie, who rescues distressed 'possums and then influenced me to do the same when I found an injured 'possum on my front porch.
I wrote of that experience, noting how sweet the 'possum was and how Stevie and I should start a nonprofit for the preservation of 'possum.
It may seem surprising to you - for it is to me - that I, the undeniable embodiment of all things Southern, should become so fascinated by a Yankee.
Right then and there in the Los Angeles International Airport, I thought I was going to have to pitch a conniption fit. That, to explain a conniption fit properly, is when a woman of Southern origin creates a scene of dramatic wailing and gnashing of teeth.
As life stretches on, it is always a blessing to share a history with those who know you well. It is a bond that cannot be fabricated, for it is created by the times and stories you mutually share over many years.
When it becomes your unfortunate lot to be orphaned in life, you recollect a great deal about your parents, reflecting back on many things including the wisdom they passed along.
The subject of homecoming queens started in the odd way that some topics enter into a conversation. It really had nothing to do with what we were discussing but then, in a very real way, it did.
I'd always heard that love - or rather the loss of it - could drive a woman crazy. Push her plum to the edge and sometimes even push her over it until she was in a free fall that landed her slab dab in the middle of crazy.
A friend e-mailed to remind me of something I had long forgotten.
One afternoon, I had a hankering, a primal-like craving, for a supper of pinto beans and cornbread with a tall glass of cold, rich buttermilk thrown in for good measure and extra filling.
Over the years, I've crossed paths with many people who were extremely successful as well as some who were such miserable failures that, as Mama liked to say, "ain't worth the breath they draw."
That apple tree. Oh my goodness. Something told me it wouldn't turn out well.
This happened years ago. Mama was alive then, so it's been seven or eight years. I hadn't thought about it in almost that many years, but when it came to mind the other day, I took to studying on it and how the circumstances and opportunities of life's journey can be so fascinating.
Yes, I know that I am, occasionally, prone to embellishment. But trust me when I say this is the law and the gospel: I have a longtime friend who only calls me when someone dies. Most times I know the person, but sometimes I don't have a clue the person ever existed.
A friend of mine, long embroiled in upsets, distractions, problems and tribulations, called one day to announce happily she was learning to "let things roll right off my back."
It's a funny thing. That's what Mama used to say when something baffled her.
When Miss Ondia Mae died at 75, those of us who knew her marveled that she had managed to make it to the end of her life without winding up in the poorhouse.
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