Tuesday, March 22, 2016


My dearest Suzanne,

We did not keep in touch.   But you are a part of me, ingrained in the folds of my mind and heart. I love you Suzanne. Love, because I still do, will always.  It seemed impossible that you were at death's door.  The heart and spirit were too great.  Last we spoke, you said you had accepted your fate.  My breath caught somewhere and I could not speak. 

I recently and gratefully shared with you how beautiful you are to me.  You and your sister reflect your mom's beauty, thank heavens. You both have her laugh.  Your dad, my uncle, was a most impressive dude, but your beauty was your mom's.   Your spiritual beauty...that was something, seemed a part of your DNA. 

 I think of a memory of your mom putting on lipstick in the bathroom mirror and then blotting perfect lip shapes on a Kleenex. I would look at those perfect lips on the Kleenex after she had left. I later practiced and could never make perfect lip shapes. My favorite memory of your dad, when he stood guard for me against the copperhead family while I stacked firewood in my truck. Or maybe it was the time I confided I might need help and he showed up with one VERY impressive gun, that he politely put away when I asked.  But he was there.  He showed up.  Knowing your mom and dad is to know the two energies of inner spiritual beauty and brute courage that you and your sister have. 

Have a safe journey.  I can only imagine the homecoming. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Letter to My Twenty Five Year Old Self

Hello 25.    Poppy and you shared the love of that ancient willow tree by the creek bed before you knew he loved it too.  You still love it, but lightening takes it out soon.  You don't know yet that you have hidden away in the wrinkles of your mind the warmth of cousins hanging over the bridge rail to watch brown cows with salt splash across their back.  You haven't thought about or cared lately, of the spring that ran through the back yard.  You never wondered where it originated, maybe from just the runoff from the embrace of the surrounding hills.   After a rain, a small clear puddle collects in a ray of sunshine as it curls to the creek.  Summers, butterflies congregated there, the same as now memories congregate and flutter, in the water and sun.  Mama Franklin is so much in you, one day smocking a dress and the next  splashing through that spring fed pool like a Viking warrior, chasing down and twisting a chicken's neck for chicken dinner. 

You have been in love before but you are wandering at the moment.  You will meet other loves.   You will climb over your introverted walls that you love to build over and over again.  You will uproot your nine yr. old to live on a college campus and he will absorb and teach as much or more to you than you do for him.  He will define the man he is going to be, beginning the first day, when he climbs up onto the broken springs of a left behind rocker chair smelling of dirt and dog hair.  He has every right to loud dissent for being taken from his known world for your personal goals.  Instead, he stares out into the Cullowhee mountains and campus activity and says out loud to anyone, "I think I'm gonna like it here".  You both thrive.  You grow into loving the wits it takes to win the survival game.  You don't break and lesson learned that being vulnerable is the foundation for winning.  But that constant swim upstream will make it too easy to fall back into the very real comfort of a beautiful isolation,  like a siren's song undertow.  You will grow out of your black or white, right or wrong world and you will be grateful in the grey one with colorful acceptance and a love for the irreverent.  My trash mouth and dry sense of humor would startle the 25 yr old you.   

It remains a blurred line to this day how much of the wonder that you are and will be was predestined and how much of it was a choice.  But I am thankful and grateful and love you. 

to be continued....

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Shadowbox of Warmth

Mama Franklin told me that they never knew of the great depression til it was over.  She wore her toboggan inside and outside along with her colorful handmade cotton dresses. She brought out the nice felt hats for going out and had those giant buttons on her best coats.

When winter goes into the single digits I put on her toboggan.  How much of the added degree of warmth that comes over me is from the truth that a hat will hold in added body warmth or that it is Mama Franklin's old burgandy tobaggan.  And I just now realized the subconcious (now conscious) reason I ride that old burgandy toboggan around in the back seat with me all winter. Maybe I should move it up to the passenger seat.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Battle Fatigue

 The insects went mad a couple of days before the storm, Irene.  The night before I left I walked around outside in the dark with just the porch light on and loud bugs were dive bombing me.  They seemed disoriented and in a panic, like "take me too!"   They reminded me of my own fast pace that week.    I saw wasps that were not at nests but sucked up to the side of plants that I was bringing inside.  When tried to brush them away they were stuck like glue but would release and fly away after bothered.  All the insects that talk, were talking, more like yelling.  One yelled so loud I ran away before realizing it was just a bug.   All day Saturday was blissful sleep away from the excitement and recovery.  I'm beginning to realize with this blog that it sounds as though there's nobody here but me and the bugs.  Funny, not quite as isolated as all that. 

 Snow storms are mental health and hurricanes are mental breakdowns.  Outside of personal devastations Irene did some good; dredged out Oregan Inlet,  I heard, for better boat traffic.  Mostly put out the big Suffolk fire with 10 inches of rain and did in one night what the firefighters could not do in weeks.  DOT has repairs down to a fine art from having to do it every single time...chop, chop... will be done in no time at all.   I have concern for Hatteras, still isolated from the world with few phones, no power, no road, provisions that were stored up.  Their isolation is both the beauty and the beast.       OBX'ers are the best people in the world and will help out anybody, repeated often after the storms. So true, so true.   Where we live makes that an act of survival.  But that kind of repeated comments heard again and again over the years seems a reinforcement in isolating from others, without meaning to. 
That being said..... by this mountain girl who refuses to become a beach girl.  Maybe I'm the one being nicely isolating?  hmmm.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

John Lennon

Its a perfect 80's day today, think I'll find something outside to do for the rest of the day like digging in the dirt.  Spent yesterday with repeated naps after 3 day work weekend and back to living today.   I cut off 3 pairs of slacks this morning for more shorts for any more global warmed days.  But if the remainder of the summer is like today..no worries. 
I momentarily feel withdrawn from the black and white of the world's right and wrong.    Its crossed my mind in recent days, "What would John Lennon say?" and I landed at YouTube link of an old BBC radio show,  "John Lennon Remembered".  Its comforting, an escape, not sugar coated, a deeper look into a mixed bag of psyche of one of the most interesting individuals in my lifetime...to me.  
Just discovered YouTube autoplay that let me begin with the first post and autoplay through the rest of the posts.    Link attempted here. 
John Lennon Remembered  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In the Sweet By and By

I'm thinking about Poppy and Mama Franklin after watching     a  documentary about Monsanto. I walk to the freezer and take out the mayonnaise jar of bean seeds and look into the jar. How did I come by them in the first place? Mama Franklin's bean seeds have been in a mayonnaise jar in my freezer for decades and packed for moving many times. When they would no longer grow I kept them. I gaze now into the seeds as a fortune teller would look into a crystal ball and I remember..
 that the deer congregated at the apple tree in the field across from the house. I walk past the fairly friendly bulls and corn fields and there is the peace and rhythm of the river while I watch Poppy fish the trout holes. Walking back with the trout and catfish on some days and I stand at the old porcelain topped kitchen cupboard to watch my grandmother work her magic. The fresh floured filets jump in the pan because their muscles don't know yet they are no longer in the river. I like the jumping filets better than the chicken feather snowstorms in the backyard before a chicken dinner. Cousins swing on the barn door and go around to the hay loft and climb to the top, giving the pigeons a moment of our time, but hurry to slide down and climb back up...again and again and again. The pitch black nights with outside night noises of whippoorwills and crickets and frogs and bob whites that are louder than a freight train but they give us dreams of outdoors, butterflies around the mud-hole that makes rainbows after a rain.   Feather beds swallow us to a scary deep and then feather walls settle in just before panic and we are buried alive in hand stitched quilts. There is real adventure in the jeep rides on the old lumber roads. In an earlier memory there is churned butter that I thought was a poor substitute for the margarine in the stores. It is not a chore to go to the garden for fresh corn to boil and pile up on a platter in the middle of the table. Don't tear down the dirt dobber nests! we are reminded each time we watch them build outside the screen porch. They keep down the termites and bad bugs. If you must go into the canning room don't touch anything. The canning room makes all the difference in having or not having and it's a protected room. Why is it always so refreshingly cool in that room, like standing beside of a waterfall. We call the cows to the creek bridge and throw salt on their backs and walk down under the bridge into the creek and build a rock dam for the crawdads. My grandmother is never snake-bit in the garden because she is a quick snake jumper. My grandfather comes in in late afternoons with a couple of arrowheads in his pocket picked up from the fields from another lifetime. Mama Franklin teaches me how to smock and embroider in the afternoons that we are alone. Late at night Poppy brings out rolls of bright colors of wire for wire art. We make rainbows in the creek with the oil can until the forest ranger follows the trail of oil to Poppy's back yard and tells him about our pollution. We float on tubes in John's River every summer hot Sunday. One of those late summer days, my infant brother flips over in his too tight inner tube with feet up in the air and head down under the water. I only laugh a little til mom screams for me to flip him back over. He isn't rattled at all, a personality trait that will stay with him. My grandfather drives to church on Sunday down the dirt road like a bat out of hell in his GMC truck. When he comes to a blind curve he lays down on the horn warning all creatures great and small to get out of the way. He could drive that road blind folded and excitement and trust is what I feel on the edge of the seat with hands on the dash. Mom runs over a pig as we pack up and ride back home and cries into the evening. 

Although my jar of seeds won't grow now, they are gems of the past, God's own seeds. The memories are the best heritage a child could ever ask. Like the "Secret Sisters" song I'm listening to..."We all belong to the dirt in the garden.....its one of those days I want to be little again....there is nothin funner than takin your turn......don't tip toe, just jump in"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peace and Love

The dragonflies are swarming.  Its  comforting to be bombarded by hundreds of dragonflies when I go outside and in my mind they have nothing but my best interests in their little dragonfly hearts.  I got out before the asphalt melted this morning and mowed the grass.  Another forest fire in Suffolk, well first one there this year in Suffolk and wind blowing this way; so I took a preemptive allergy med to go outside.  I heard there were expected sun solar flares this week.   I'll blame the lack of tv reception on that.  I hardly ever call in the problem, cause its easier to turn the tv off.  I even kind of appreciate the lack of tv reception. 
How hot is it in Grandy this week?  So hot something in the a/c blew a gasket, got it fixed.  Mom and Jeannie coming in, expecting them any time.  Looking forward to the visit.  Mom is 80 plus years young, extremely stubborn, would rather fall out of the tub than put up a grab bar.  Still no grab bar and now I need it when I go visit.  I am never able to remember her exact age because she only began releasing it in the past few years.  After 80 years, now she is proud to tell everyone. 
All that said about stubborn, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.   It wouldn't have been the end of the world for me to listen,  for example.......the pink pedal pushers were her favorite.   Now she's hard of hearing and I can say some things in a normal/low tone that I'm not sure I should say and leave it to the gods if she hears me or not.   I love when she comes out to visit and we visit the beach and relax and eat mahi mahi and whatever words we want the sea breezes carry away, they do.   This week, unconditional love feels like warm salty air and healing sea breezes.