For years, I blamed it on those richly royal blue, suede high-heel pumps. The ones with the ridiculously tall, spiked heel and absurdly pointed toe. I was 22 when I bought them, and 36 when I donated them to the Salvation Army.
The woman looked over the selection of books, picked up four and smiled.
They all come with some kind of a price and all with a certain amount of disappointment, but still Rodney keeps trying.
Any self-respecting Southern woman has a list of casserole recipes a mile long ready to bake at a moment's notice.
Mama had great stories. My favorite was the only one I asked for her to repeat often. It has become something of an anthem in my life.
By chance, we happened upon him in a small gift shop. The clerk recognizing me laughed and said, "What a coincidence! She just bought a copy of your book!" She gestured toward a small woman browsing through a group of men's sweaters.
She said it, of course, with smirk. Those women who really don't understand the ways of the women of the South seem to always speak about us in words vividly cloaked in disdain.
(This is the third installment of a three-part series about Charlie Tinker.)
"Some day," Daddy used to say often as I was growing up, "I'm going to the Holy Land. I want to walk where Jesus walked."
Years ago when Mama was widowed, it became suddenly and shockingly clear she wasn't completely capable of being on her own. This was news to us, because she had always stepped up and did whatever it took to look after our family. She was quite ingenious and hardworking.
(This is the second of a three-part series on the discoveries made after a visit to Charlie Tinker's grave.)
The renowned bow maker in my hometown died. Only in the South would this probably be news because we Southern women do admire a well-wrapped package.
The way she was, was a long way from what she became. I can't help thinking about how life veers so far away from the beginning of the journey and how the destination can vary drastically from where it all started.
Editor's note: This is the first installment of a three-part series on Charlie.
There's nothing glamorous about being a farmer, nothing charming, little endearing and certainly few things easy about it. It is either a calling or a curse, depending on how one looks at it. Some are born into it and some just can't find a way to escape it for it's all they've ever known.
I remember more clearly than any other holiday the many Easters of my life.
A while back, a messy problem loomed ahead.
It has become somewhat of an art for me, that of studying Southern culture and deciphering what makes us different from others as well as downright peculiar among ourselves.
One Sunday while sitting around the dinner table, Louise and I began to tell Daddy stories. You know the ones that stretched back to the early days of his preaching life.
To this conclusion I have come: The most deadly years of our lives are the ages 16 to 21. Those years give us a headiness that comes from new freedom - a driver's license - and the passing of the torch from strict childhood rules to more trust, different restraints and relaxed curfews.
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.
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