Monday, April 28, 2014


Bent over a walker, the white-haired gentleman shuffled through the door leading to the restrooms. I smiled at him as he came back into the waiting area of the auto service center. I don't think he noticed.

I should have known that kindly voice when he asked a woman across from me whether she minded him sitting beside her. When he sat down, I looked him square in the face and recognition dawned. "Harold P.," I declared, although I used his full name.

This was the man who baptized me as a 9-year-old girl, who had performed my wedding ceremony and officiated at the funeral of my dad and my maternal grandfather. We hugged for at least a full minute. I was so excited, because I hadn't seen him in 10 years. We reminisced about the time when he was pastor of my childhood church. He and his first wife were good friends of my mom and dad, and our families got together often, even after he left that church.

A funny thing happened as we chatted. The years melted away, and so did the lines in his face and the white of his hair. I was transported back to the time when any problem I encountered could be solved by crawling into my daddy's lap or calling Harold. When I first met my husband, I told my parents that he was a combination of Elbert Hobson (my dad) and Harold. And Jack really did favor Harold, with his dark, wavy hair and receding hairline.

I couldn't believe how much he had changed. The last time I saw him, his hair was still dark and wavy. He had lost a lot of weight, too, and his clothes hung loosely from his large frame. He had always battled with obesity. He explained that the walker was temporary, that his left thigh had been in a cast for several months and he had lost muscle strength. When he got it back, he felt he would be able to discard the walker. When the service man told me my car was ready, Harold and I hugged again, and I didn't want to let go. We exchanged telephone numbers and promises to stay in touch. I intend to keep that promise.

I left his presence with a sense of sadness that I find difficult to understand, much less explain. I was saddened by how old he looked, how fragile, and by the realization that my parents would look like that were they still alive. They were two or three years older than he was. I was saddened by the fact that I hadn't kept in touch with this man who had been such a strong influence on my formative years. I didn't know his second wife had died four years ago. He's 82, so on the way home, I wondered whether anyone would know to inform me when he died.

I wanted to call someone and say, "Guess who I ran into today?" And that's when the sadness nearly overwhelmed me, because there was no one to call. Mom and Dad are dead. My husband is dead. My brother wasn't close to Harold, and my children barely know him. I was overcome with a strong sense of nostalgia. You might even say I felt homesick. What is nostalgia, anyway, but a form of homesickness? Seeing Harold and not being able to tell someone who knew him or who would care made me miss my mom and dad, my husband, my grandparents, even the aunts and uncles who were once such a big part of my life and who I thought would never die. It made me feel so mortal and so alone.

Ever since our chance meeting, a gospel song written by Dottie Rambo keeps playing in my head. "See the bright lights shine, it's just about home time, I can see my Father standing at the door," she wrote. "This world has been a wilderness, I'm ready for deliverance, Lord I've never been this homesick before."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You know you're a country girl

  You know you’re a country girl when...

... you get excited about a barn addition and a shed for your horse trailer; can’t wait to use your new, battery-powered chain saw;’d rather be mucking stalls than cleaning house; to your horse, your tractor is your favorite ride;

...painting the town means helping your neighbors refinish their barns; get your news at the Piggly Wiggly; can’t leave Dollar General without spending $50;

...your Bach and Tchaikovsky are Haggard and Husky; don’t worry about shaving your legs because you’re always wearing jeans;

...there’s nothing unusual about seeing a horse and goat on your retaining wall; complain about traffic when three cars pass the post office before you can get out of the parking lot.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Guess Who's Coming For Dinner?

For the past two weeks, I've been too busy playing host to write a blog. I've spent time with grandkids, a high school chum and members of the board of the National Federation of Press Women. I enjoyed every minute of it, but I haven't had a moment to call my own.

In an effort to get something posted this week, I'm going to let my camera do most of the talking. The following photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, when I let my  critters out to roam my property. When they are out and about, they usually make their way to my back porch to beg for carrots. As you can see, at least one of them wasn't satisfied with staying on the porch.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this post is more than 2,000 words long. But it's a quick read.

Come on in, Nibbles, she won't mind.
Hey, mom. someone's at the door!