Hsssssssss chk chk chk chk chk chk hsssssssssss chk chk chk chk chk chk.
I hear the sprinkler as if it’s oscillating white noise. It sounds like my great great aunts whispering about “family business.” They're the poster girls for the saying,” I don’t repeat gossip so listen carefully.”
You would never hear their generation talk about money, sex, death or health problems- especially the “C” word” (cancer). There were so many topics that were absolutely off-limits for discussion, my young mind was left to wonder about many things. One unlikely story about death I recall being retold many times is the tale of the great great uncle who was killed while riding behind a log truck in the Carolina mountains when impaled by a runaway log. Do you think that could be why to this day I’m fearful of driving near a log truck?
Of the five sisters, Minnie, Gypsy, Ruth, Frances and Bill, Gypsy was the most animated storyteller. They all built beach houses in the 1930’s, lined up next to each other like a flock of geese by the bay. For most of my life, we filled Mama Frankie’s house every summer with pallets thrown on the floor and family in every bit of space.
Mornings began with LouLou at the grits pot stirring and stirring; that’s her secret to the best grits in the south. In the late afternoon, everyone in the neighborhood congregated under the canopy of oaks by the bay for extended “visiting”… hours on end of conversation & laughter. Evenings were filled with games and reading if you were lucky enough to land a spot near a lamp. Skinny-dipping in the phosphorescent water was also a favored activity. The small black and white TV was turned on only for occasional news reports.
The blades of grass that managed to poke through from the coaxing of the sprinkler never overtook the dirt paths worn by many little feet.
When I smell the fragrance of salt water and pine trees and hear the sound of crickets, I'm transported to that place and that time.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. - Thoreau
Cracker Chronicle Observation: This set of great great aunts included a girl named Bill and on my father's side there was a girl named Noah. (Pronounced N0-eee) I guess when they didn't have boys they settled for using a boy's name. Funny in a sad sort of way.