Christmas is the time that we pack expectations into every package we wrap and for weeks anticipate that one, perfect Currier-and-Ives day.
Thousands of days filled with clouds, rain, snow or sunshine have passed, yet one lesson sticks stubbornly to my heart.
It happened recently: The 20th anniversary of the death of stock car racer Davey Allison. Maybe you remember him. Maybe you don't.
Tink had been in Los Angeles for a week so that morning before his plane left LAX, it occurred to me that a good, wifely thing to do would be to welcome him back to the Rondarosa with a home-cooked meal.
If New Year's is a time to regroup and look toward the upcoming year, then Thanksgiving is a time to gather and reflect on the year that has passed.
We had a funeral at church the other day which was not unusual.
She was not a pretty woman in the days of her youth. Her lips were too thin, her forehead too high and her eyes so round they seemed to bulge into the lens of the glasses she wore.
Most husbands, if they carry a photo of their wives, like for it to be one of glamour and beauty. That would not be my husband.
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.
Coming home one Sunday from the family dinner after church, I said out of the blue, "I feel like we should volunteer for vacation Bible school."
My people, as I have long said, were raised on hard times in the Appalachian foothills. I don't know I had a grandparent who ever saw the sum of $500 at one time or even held a hundred dollar bill in hand.
It was over Sunday dinner that my sister told me what I did not know.
It started accidentally. Some good ideas and memorable moments are like that. They aren't planned. They're born, bringing with them an ability to nudge a way naturally into our lives and become a tradition.
My sister and I stood in the charred remains of a life that once was and did not say a word. What was there to say?
To be honest, I was more than a mite worried. I was plenty worried.
It often amazes me how many words of kindness and encouragement I receive for the stories I tell.
You may be surprised to learn people sometimes disagree with me.
Sometimes, I look across our yard and sigh somewhat woefully, "Too much of that stubborn red Georgia clay shines through." I think, "Oh, one day." I have been thinking this for six or seven years.
Hollywood, more often than not, gets it wrong about the South in movies and television. When they do get it right, we Southerners are amazed and appreciative.
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