Monday, December 31, 2012

luck and money

One name showing possession of the best po boy I've ever tasted.

We have to have the greens and the black eyed peas. I personally do not care when we take our Christmas trees down. There is a message from Granny. She got me some collards out of the garden. The tops, she assures me, look good.

The table will be set with luck and money, a superstition kept because it's so tasty. Granny asks if I'll be  making the tomato relish and I say, No ma'am.  Atop black eyed peas I'd only eat mayonnaise.

Today I am so very grateful to see a movie with my Dad, to put clean sheets on Slater's bed, to prepare a family's first meal of the year.

Happy New Year's Eve, my friends.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ms. V

Saturday 2:17pm

People are gonna talk.


Well, it's just awful.

People talking?


Today I am grateful to understand the value of gossip.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Big Jay and Willie

feeling fancy

Big Jay met William Faulkner in a diner. Later Jay would report how relaxed Faulkner was.

I smiled when I read of the meeting. Faulkner was standing, leaned back against a wall. I would almost contend he was observing but he could have been dreaming of what it would be like when he got back to Rowan Oak. Who'd be waiting for him.  Those walls. I saw where he outlined the book, spent a summer reading what I could of his work. I always assumed he was a madman but the calmness Jay described seemed to fit him more.

Though I loved Hemingway for his sense of reporting, the power found in his lack of words, there was just always something about Faulkner, how a rambling mind would describe more of what I saw.

Today I am grateful for the voices we hear from back then and all the ones who speak so freely now.

Top Ten Blogs of 2012*

*This is official and certified and oh so important and at least some of what I read.

Special thank you goes out to Aunt Wanda for the fine china.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday evenings

Alma Dunnam's Dining Room where Daddy ate two bowls of chili and two bowls of his special brew.

Dad walks up the steps and into the door carrying a pot which seems half as big as he is, and it's half full of a brew which has been the topic of some phone conversations and at least two previous stick his head in the back door visits from Dad.

Did I have any eggs? What about rice?

I have six eggs, Dad, but just a small amount of organic rice. I don't think you like it.

Well, don't you put rice with your chili?

No, Dad. I ain't ever heard of that.


Seriously. My chili is pretty thick. It stands alone but then there's the cheese, the sour cream, the peppers and crackers.

Well. I eat rice with my chili. I done tried to call yo' Mama two times. She's been gone to the grocery store for five hours.

Daddy, you know she likes her day in the city. She has lunch, reads a book.

Well, she answered the second time. We gone bring some rice and you know I been cookin' on my soup.

I know. How's it goin'?

Well. I had to get that oblong crock pot.

You know you can use mine too.

Nah. I think I got it but thank you for offering the crock pot, Shea.

No problem, Daddy. Love you.

Love you too.



I tasted Dad's gumbo of he never wasted a thing. Of gizzards and livers and necks and whole boiled eggs and ducks and chickens and deer and Daddy, what's that?

My brother Jason ate a bowl and that was my favorite part of dinner. How slow they both ate it. Dad never said much of anything other than to attempt to name what he was eating for the spectators who were watching.

Marlee had snuck to dinner cradled in her Mama's stomach. I couldn't help but wonder what she thought of the food and the conversation and how we smiled and laughed and sometimes my Dad,

he cracks me up.

Today I am grateful for Thursday night dinners and the family who attends.

Slater is coming New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

what killed Elvis

They are the state lines where signs announce a people's welcome and a short description. There was that whole birthplace of music claimed by Mississippi. Yes, I agree birthplace is stretching it but Elvis was born here in a little bitty room disguised as a house.

They say his daddy almost lost the house or maybe he did for a hundred dollars a year after Elvis was born.

Here he is a year before his Mama died.

Do you see him twitching here, the year he died? It starts when the crowd beats their applause like a train is coming at him.

Can you imagine living up to those types of expectations? That boy had moves, an incredible voice and early on did not seem to be intimidated. But good gosh, those screams, the sheer volume of love could crush someone who didn't think he was enough.

That had to be it. or not.

Today I am grateful to realize limitations, to understand there is energy around hype and that energy can destroy what's within. More than anything else he left I am grateful for what he taught us, what we learned.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

movie quote

Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

Source: The Matrix, Morpheus, IMDb

this is not the world's largest waterfall

It is a cut through road of dirt and gravel, deer camp.
It feels spooky as if something may at any moment get you.
You need this.

Sometimes you need fear to take you out of your own skin.
An adrenaline rush of remember.
How insanely fortunate and blessed and lucky and all the good you have it.
A struggle called ridiculous.


Thirty-two tif photos to be uploaded to an editor who is more than kind. December twenty-fourth is the deadline. Internet not just iffy but useless.

Brain: Your fault. Why did you wait till now?
Me: 'Cause I suck. There I said it. Happy?
Brain: No. You should not suck.
Me: Thanks for the advice. Kiss my ass. I don't get to see my kid tomorrow. Potential tornados in the forecast.
Brain: Go home and pout. You should have planned better.

Mom and Dad have told me of severe weather warnings on the day I had planned to drive and surprise.

I am coming home from my parents' place after trying, trying trying trying, it's not working to use their internet since mine hates me like the weather. I see the light to the east and know what's coming. It's the church, the one that keeps it's steeple lit.

It's late, quiet.
Twenty photos later I get back in the car.
Twenty-four hours later.
 I am typing this.

I got to hear Slater laugh on the phone.
I took a break.
It rained on a metal roof.
I saw my parents.
A brother helped with the puzzle.

That editor, she said just drop it in the mail.

Today I am grateful for the day after the day of all the pressure to be happy.
It's got to be okay to sometimes struggle even if we are extremely blessed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

be love, beloved

The I don't know told in the darkest corner of the deepest cave for as long as I haven't seen Santa is

How could a father give up his son to a world he knew would crucify him?

Today I am grateful to accept that no matter how much I love it would never be enough. 
Just the birth story of Christmas lets us know there is more love than we can fathom.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Peyton gets a baby sister

 Today I am grateful to know Peyton, to be in the vicinity of such incredible honesty.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas is

There is something different about the sky here.


More pronounced. The stars, the clouds, the whites, the pinks, the blues.

Five hundred fifty reasons we have to stop eating at the dining room table.

How 'bout another puzzle, Jess?

Yes, she says with a rounded y, an immediate e and a prolonged s.

She is the kid who clings to stories, remembers everything and shocks you when she responds to a current question with a tale you told her two years ago.

Maybe if you stare at them long enough they'll get uncomfortable and start putting themselves together.


Wait. What did you say?


I just asked you if you like bacon and you come back at me with the name of my first pig.

Her nod is where they got the idea for the bobble head and her smile lets you know she holds the key to some other universe.


When are you going to take my magazine picture?

I don't know. I think we have to let it come to us. We'll know when it's right.

Do we need to pick a place?

We can.


We could.


Wait. No. Nevermind.

How 'bout we put the puzzle together on the dining room table?

Yeah. Her response is breathy as if we just discovered another element for the periodic table.

#11. Have puzzle done by this time next year.

Did you know (some obscure fact which was not an obscure fact when I was eight years old)?

No. I didn't.

Well,      it's true. They said it at school.

Well I don't know about that. They used to tell me Pluto was a planet. Now they say it's not.

It's not.

Why did they change the rules?

She looks up to the sky, the different sky, shrugs her shoulders and smiles.

Today I am grateful to spend a day with a kid and be reminded of what Christmas is.

A special thank you goes out to Jess, Fred's Dollar Store and Christy's Fine Dining where we dined very finely on a cheeseburger topped with a fried green tomato. It's good to be home.

Friday, December 21, 2012

ch ch ch changes

Resolutions. Revolutions.
We know who we're dealing with here.
Let's call these goals.

Number one. Jesse approved photo in a magazine.

Two. Read twelve books.
3. Publish one.

IV. Get smarter.
      a. Listen

5. Experience New York City with a friend. Eat at Shopsin's.
6. Visit the ocean four times.

Seven. Produce a fruit and deliver it to a friend.

8. Take fifty-two days off of work. Those days will be called going to the creek. If we need to be reminded to let our mind flow so we can follow it, we'll actually go to the creek so it can remind us.

9. Take less photos because the ones we take are going to be better.


Dance more,
love more,
wave more,
trust more,
forgive more,
understand more,
laugh more,
cry more,
learn more,
study more,

be more gentle with ourselves and each other.

Today I am grateful for goals, for aspirations, for the things we have learned along the way.
These lives, we create.