Travel blogging can be full of surprises. Readers, my recent trip to St. Augustine, Florida was a vacation spot you do not want to miss. It was quite a special experience seeing the oldest European city in the United States. I thought it would be fun to begin a blogging series of random photos and share of few interesting facts along the way.
There is old time history in those Kentucky hills. If one is lucky enough, you might hear of it told in a story or two by your kinfolk.
“Go on now, help me get my shoes off,” in distress papaw asked the girls.
Jeanette unlaced her grandfather’s left boot and June the right. They tugged until the boots fell to the wood floor.
Mama knew her daddy was short of breath. Her girls were too young to understand, but they knew something was not right. Jack was even younger at 9 years.
Mama secretly told Willie her husband to go on now to a neighbor’s home to call the doctor. He returned shortly never making that phone call. Willie had heard the dinner bell rung by mama. It was the S.O.S. that her daddy was gone.
Night before last, the family had went down to papaw’s house to visit. Papaw said he was not feeling well. For the first time ever, he decided to spend the night at his daughter’s home. Little Jack strolled alone with grandpa back to his parent’s farm after the rest of the family had left to go back early. Jack loved Papaw. He knew Papaw always had a good story to tell. That day, he did not know that it would be his last he was to hear.
Stories and long tales are family favorites of mine. Some of them are sad, but more often there is a good laugh to be had by all. Jack was my dad. The girls were my aunts.
Recently on a trip back to Kentucky, I had the opportunity to attend my family reunion and my Aunt Jeanette’s 90th birthday party which just so happened to fall on the same day.
I was able to visit the family farms and see the old cemetery that dates back to my four times great grandfather. He is buried way back in the tall trees far from anyone.
Three years prior to this visit, the cemetery was cleaned up. This time I saw the place after very little work had been done to it. I thought I would share in pictures a bit of what I saw along with a story that makes us all wonder about what it must have been like growing up on a farm. You see 911 was just not available and as a matter of fact many of these farms still have no 911 addresses attached to them. It is as if time stands still when you think about it. But we all know that is not true.
In the next few days I will be writing about the adventures involved in finding the exact location of the cemetery. Public records do not include the cemetery notated when I made reference to it with the folks who hold this information in the courthouse.
This story is dedicated to all fathers. Happy Father’s Day Jack ( in Heaven otherwise known as Randall by some, Bill by others, and daddy by me).
“No. I’m not.” running as fast as I could from my friend.
“Yes. You are!”
“You can’t catch me. Can you?”
I stopped. I put my hands on my hips and stuck out my tongue.
Carrie looked at me with her piercing eyes and oh those buck teeth and proclaimed, “do you want to know how many boyfriends you are gonna have?”
Incredibly ‘her tomboy’ friend gladly said, “sure!”
While sitting down in a field of beautifully comfortable grass, Carrie explains to me how I was going to find out the truth of my long line of boyfriends.
It did not occur to me in that moment that maybe I could be a tomboy while looking at my knee bandaged all up.
“Do this and the more they crack the more boyfriends you are gonna have.” I watched in complete awe as Carrie popped every finger on her two hands!
“Go ahead and do it.” Carrie said with great anticipation.
So I began to push, pull, and tug my fingers like Carrie was doing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And than I heard it! “CRACK!” and then I heard only one more pop!
“That’s it for you Alesia. You ain’t gonna have many.” I stared at my friend and did not say a word.
“Hey let’s go play some tether ball.” She said.
We both got up and ran like crazy to the playing field. I beat Carrie in that too!
I probably never beat her in boyfriends though. The two cracks were enough for me.
Laughing out loud to no one but myself, I don’t turn around. Frozen in time, I look down to my bare feet and think who cares?
I could say I don’t care about shoes and I do not care to choose, but reality is I was in a hurry.
“Alesia, put something on your feet if you are going out to play!” Living in Hawaii–who cares, right.
“Ok, mom,” As I run out with flip-flops in my hands and no socks. The flip-flops never made it to my feet usually.
It was 1971 and who gave a you know what about shoes. We lived in Hawaii and we just wanted to have fun and playing with the other kids without shoes on was the norm.
Those were the days. No one held this girl down. No shoes for sure did. Being on your own time and really no time source to tell me different made me feel like nothing could go wrong. Reminiscing of the days of old, I still realize how I loved those old days. Backing up in my mind, everything was going my way. I could do whatever I wanted to do.
“Damn.” I said to myself realizing I was not going to turn around for my shoes just because I was going to the dentist. You could call it crazy, but I called it freedom and memory freezing even if just for the 15 minute drive. The sun was beaming down on my car hood and it was just a beautiful day. Who cares if I have any shoes? I sure did not. After all I am just an American woman wanting to mess with your mind and show up barefoot.
“Alesia, time for supper. Come in before your food gets cold!” Man, moms know how to mess up a good tether ball tournament going on with my friends on the Barracks we lived in. All the children I played with hovered around that ball and string.
“Ok, mom!” I shouted. My friends were so kind. They crowned me the champion for the evening tether ball match. I took that championship home with me with a big smile on my face. Walking into the house, my mom looks at my dirty 9-year-old feet. OOPS!!!! No flip-flops on.
Walking into the dentist office and then sitting into the chair, my dental hygienist does not even notice I am barefooted.
She starts talking about some old man’s world book series where men would turn into young men and become super heroes.
Geez, I felt like a super hero just then. I got caught outside without my shoes on and no one cared!
Memories are a powerful thing. It is a wonder why we pick certain people over others to be “interested” in. The funny thing is how does someone know what a crush really is at the age of ten? Furthermore, when we grow up, why would a woman pick just one guy out of a lineup of several she could choose from? I mean think about it. Many times we women go for the no-good lazy bum from the wrong side of the tracks. But I digress.
Jamie was the perfect boy. He really was such a sweet person, but the truth is I do not think he really noticed me. That was Ok because really I knew I was just not quite ready to date. After all, I wasn’t even out of my first decade of life.
Seriously, it is fun thinking back on 41 years ago and realizing maybe some things never change. No one could ever compete with little Jamie. He is the “one” that got away.
Have you ever heard of the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens up.” It dawned on me that those early years of my life were like the changing seasons we have every few months. April is always a beautiful time back in my home town. Spring is on its way. Almost overnight, I can see the azaleas, gardenias, and honeysuckle blooming. It is a site for sore eyes. If I could paint you a picture, we would see vibrant colors everywhere. We would see the changes season to season and perhaps even minute to minute. The colors would be glorious with different shades of green, yellow, blue, and pink. I would not forget the birds and the trees surrounding the beautiful landscape of flowers. What vibrant colors we could share.
That is what I yearn for now. Simplicity. Keeping things simple and full of hope should be what life is all about. Leaning on our memories and learning from them is quite possibly why God gives us so many second chances. Why does he keep repeating the seasons? Do you ever wonder why there are only four seasons? Why aren’t there six or eight? Maybe deep down we yearn for familiarity and traditions along with a small element of surprise once in a while. I think that is why I think about 1973. It was a simple life. I did not care if Jamie liked me or not. I just knew he was such a great sight to look at in 1973. He had really done it for this little girl.
Linus has slowed down. He is alert and knows who I am, but just doing what all of us will do and that is age. It came down to the fact I was in a position of listening to my inner self concerned of not letting Linus suffer. “He knows who I am!” I kept saying to myself.
Is this enough to keep a dog alive? Is it enough when they are in pain if indeed that is what is going on? To my relief after a veterinary visit and counsel, we decided to put Linus on some medicine to help his bones from aching and quite possibly getting him back to jumping around the house again. It has been a month on Carprofen and Tramadol for my baby and he is getting his MOJO back!
While some of you have been winterizing your homes, I have been winterizing my dog Linus. After all he is the best friend a girl could ask for:
Dedicated To My Sons:
In a yearning desire to bring my happy and sentimental past to life again, my family traveled with me to my childhood world of Hawaii for my 50th birthday. Such nostalgia is easily brought back to my inner being as my sons experienced my old life. They too were “plunged” into instant gratification of a world they may have never known if not for my insistence to vacation there.
It is with wonder bringing dreams come true for me to be with my kids in Hawaii. Living in Hawaii for four years as a young person with my own parents was the epitome of pure joy. How can you describe something to someone else unless they experienced it themselves?
Immersing my life’s past to my children’s’ present time in Hawaii makes for a true experience now merged forever.
Showing a whole new world to them is like painting on canvas. The artist’s strokes begin with a lone girl enjoying the sand on the beach. As the artist’s rendition begins to evolve, two other figures are captured in the drawing. They are my own boys on each side of me laughing with love that comes through with each stroke of the artist’s handiwork.
This life can only get better as merging a past with its present brings on amazing memories into the future.