A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bittersweet Memories

I don't know if you've seen the weather reports but here in Phoenix we've had some wonderful weather the last few days. The high temps were only in the low 80's, breezy bright sunshiney days.
It used to be my parents and I, my siblings and cousins and my aunts and uncles would begin preparing for our annual pilgrimage to visit my grandfather Pastor E.T. James in Brinkley, AR and to attend the Annual conventions of the COGIC. We'd all crowd into that little four bedroom shack complete w/woodburning stove and eat, laugh, sing, remember and just love being together.

We here in Phoenix knew that as soon as 1)the weather fell below 90 degrees and 2)the Arizona State Fair arrived and 3)Halloween decorations were being sold it was time to start thinking about what would be worn in Memphis and Big Daddy's house. Momma always began the first onslaught of cooler weather by cooking a big pot of greens and chitlins (chitterlings) but after Daddy had his stroke in '92, Momma replaced the chitlins with a big pot of beef stew or beef oxtails.

Airline tickets were purchased, trips to the dry cleaners and shoe repairman became frequent. Hair appointments were made. Vacation time scheduled at work and that requisite call to Big Daddy to ask permission to come up.
I can't remember when that call became a ritual and I've just remembered it while writing this. I would call Big Daddy about two or three weeks prior to our arrival and ask if it was okay if my parents and I would be able to come up. Big Daddy would respond nonchalantly "Yeah. Y'all come on up and I'll see if I can find some space for you here." We knew that he'd be so excited about us coming but it was a sweet ritual.

We'd get to Brinkley and Big Daddy would have squirrel, catfish, chickpeas, pepper, sorghum molasses, green tomato slaw and whatever else he thought Momma would want or need. Back then, we always traveled with an empty Igloo to hold all this food we would ship back to Phoenix.

The picture above is my mom in green, my big brother and his wife in pink and my aunt Mary.
Today Big Daddy is gone. Most of those who traveled with me to Brinkley are gone. So when the weather became cooler this week we didn't eat greens, nor chitlins. There are no plans to travel to Brinkley. There is no one waiting for that phone call, no one to pick us up at the airport. No travel plans, no empty Igloo.There is steak thawing for a big pot of stew though. And time to make a new cooler weather memory.


Blogger Jeni said...

Ya know Debo, it's a funny thing about memories of family no longer with us this week. I've been thinking all night here while working on my newest project -a tablecloth I'm embroidering -about a post mainly about my Grandpa's "baby" sister and the memories of her, her children, my grandparents, my Mom and me. Maybe there's something else in the air besides cooling temps that seems to be bringing on similar thought processes.

October 15, 2008 1:44 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

The photo is beautiful debo!!

I hope you make many happy new memories while holding the older ones close to your heart.

October 16, 2008 8:33 PM  

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