I Am From

I Am From…

I am from a big oak tree in the front yard of my childhood home, from Orange Crush and Oreos, and picnics along the banks of the Tennessee River at Natchez Trace.

I am from the smell of a homemade breakfast as I awoke on a chilly morning before school.  

I am from a small creek near my home, where I caught tadpoles and let them grow into baby frogs before taking them back to the creek; the tall, red hibiscus, and the woods where I climbed trees in the summer and played so hard as a carefree child.

I am from Christmas at home, surrounded by my brothers and sisters, and Christmas at Grandma's surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles; wonderful Thanksgiving family feasts, Rook and Scrabble, Checkers and Parcheesi; from Carlos and Ethel, Lillie Mae and Gus, even though I can't remember him.

I am from the stories my mom told me of her childhood as I brushed her long hair, and her singing "Love Lifted Me" as she washed the supper dishes.

From Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte's Web, and Stuart Little, from Lassie, Looney Toons, and Dark Shadows...and I can't leave out Popeye. 

I am from the country church on the hill of Tuscaloosa Street:  twice on Sunday, Wednesday, and every night of revival.   There, I learned those things I tried to discard as a teen, but found that as an adult; thankfully, I couldn't.

I am from the bluest skies of Alabama, the smell of an October cotton harvest and the Harvest Moon, tall pines in Mississippi; catfish, fried chicken, cornbread, and macaroni smothered in Cheez Whiz.  From Tammy and Carol, my friends to this day; Lisa and Anita, though they've gone on to be with the Lord.    

From the hot-tea drinking man we called Grandpa, who lived his life as a shining example for us all; my tight-knit (though sometimes dysfunctional) family; and The Patriarch, my Dad, who did all he could to support us, because that's what he knew to do....and that's how, though we didn't understand it then, he showed us his love. 

I am from the box Mom has kept, to this day, full of pictures and the tokens of our youth made by us, her children, that she found precious enough to keep forever.   Things that one day, we'll divide between us, my brothers and sisters and I, when that day comes....

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