One night I was doing an appearance in a town where my column runs. A woman waited in line to speak to me and brought a clipping of that week's column for me to sign.
It wasn't long ago that a friend of mine - a West-coaster no less - got onto the subject of country music. Some he likes, some he doesn't, he said. Then, he laughed and recalled one that he had recently encountered.
It started one Sunday when I slid into the third row pew next to a slender man with rumpled silver hair just as the first notes of the organ announced that service was starting.
There is a seaside village on the coast of Georgia that my heart, in fact my entire being, is summoned to at fairly regular intervals. It is as much home to me as the red clay hills of North Georgia.
You cannot be a writer without being a reader. It's a simple observation, but no wiser words have ever seen ink on paper. For writers are always drawn to and mesmerized by words. We drink up pretty syllables like drunks depend on cheap wine.
Whenever I or anyone else think of Daddy, it is his faith that defined him over and above all else. The man and his faith were inseparable. To know his faith, was to know him. To know him, was to come face-to-face with a bullet-proof faith. He was a spirit-driven Baptist preacher, called by the Lord to deliver sermons and salvation to the foothills of ...
If you haven't already read between the lines, that was her attempt to be subtle and encourage me to watch what I say. Of course, it was a waste of her sweet breath, but I pretended to pay attention and agreed with what she said.
Haughtiness and arrogance has always perplexed me, for I've never understood those traits. "Pride goeth before destruction," declares a book known for pulling no punches.
One day, I realized that a guy friend had mentioned a woman several times over a couple of weeks, saying in casual conversation that she had called and invited him to various places.
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?
When Peggy Sue went away, just fell off the face of the earth with no warning or even a holler, we all wondered where she had gone.
Recently, I was in a bookstore with a friend. We stopped at a table near the front of the store and it was loaded with different books that had such obscene titles that many of the words were expressed as "@?*#."
Mama was stubborn. "Set in her ways," is what country folks call it and boy, was she. When she made up her mind, nothing stopped her. Especially when she set her jaw and punctuated her declaration with a firm nod of her head. If she also threw that crooked forefinger in your direction, you knew it was set in stone. Destined to be.
One day over lunch, my new-to-the-South-but-thoroughly-loving-it husband commented on the choir singing at our church, which is led by my brother-in-law, Rodney.
To be downright honest, I never expected to miss him this much. And, if the deeper truth be told, perhaps it isn't just the loss of a singular man, though great and admirable he was.
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