Oh, the ironies of life.
I wondered the other day how a mother could even think that, let alone say it. But then Mama was a woman who defied exact definition. She was strong, smart, courageous, sometimes outrageous and above all, ruled by a faith that was simply unbendable and unquestionable. That part of her was definable and clear: She believed unyieldingly in an Almighty God who never left her side. Even when it could have seemed that He did.
Just when I thought I knew most of what there was to know, or at least that which was mostly worth knowing, about what is alluring to men about women, I uncovered a stunning new truth.
There wasn't very much of me back then. I was a tiny girl, just big enough to reach up and grab hold of the wooden counter top in that old country store and lift my chin enough to allow my eyes to peer up in quiet fascination at the man who rang up the items that Mama had laid down.
A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with a friend who lives in Las Vegas. Suddenly, out of the blue, he asked, "Is Easter this Sunday?"
It is one of the great mysteries of life. Why are some things so hard? Why, if some things are meant to be, is it so difficult sometimes to make them happen?
I'm Dixie Dew. If you read my mama's column weekly then you know that I'm the precious little red-haired dachshund of which she so affectionately writes every week. For the record, and not because I'm a bragger, but I am every bit as cute as she says. If anything, she downplays my cuteness.
Any Southern woman, worth her weight in Martha White flour, has at least one drawer or cookbook in her kitchen stuffed with recipes she has torn out of magazines or newspapers, fully intending to try each and every one of them.
Mama wasn't sentimental. In fact, I never knew of anyone who grew up in the Southern mountains during the Depression who was sentimental. They all said they were trying to forget, not remember.
Their histories, accurate and complete, are lost to time and buried with them and those who knew them. I wish I knew more, for their stories would read like a page-turning novel.
My grandmother, Daddy's mother, was sometimes called "crazy" by others who didn't quite understand her eccentric ways.
It was an early summer morning, an enchanting time when flowers are blooming, blackberries are spurting to full growth and the birds are happy to have sunny warmth. I had taken myself out to the back porch where often I settle down to write after I have finished a gentle run.
Mama used to fry biscuits. If you knew Mama, that doesn't surprise you because she fried every food possible. In the course of her life, I knew her to fry green beans, corn, grits and cornmeal mush.
There are many things I love about the South. We're fiercely patriotic. We're neighborly. We're storytellers without equal. We're unabashedly and unapologetically faithful. We're proudly hospitable.
In the tiny country church where I spent most of the first 22 years of my life, where I found the Lord at the age of 11, where without fail I had the leading part in every Christmas pageant and where my daddy laid down the law in more ways than one, we sang hymns from a brown songbook and a green one, both filled with the haunting melodies that have penetrated the Appalachians for many decades.
Not long ago, a friend of mine was huffing, puffing and carrying on something awful about an injustice she had recently suffered. She had dealt with someone rather devious and the result was, well, rather devious.
Somewhere along the line, it seems, people have stopped talking about the American dream.
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