Driving Miss Lucy

spincyclesmallIt’s time to do another Spin Cycle. Finally. I know. This week the topic was “driving”. And, miraculously, I thought of something to say about it.

Now I have to admit, I’ve been real reluctant to write anything lately. I guess y’all could say I’m pouting. See, my new baby grand daughter, and her parents, my son and his girlfriend, are planning to move away to another state. And this news is just so …..crappy…..  that I’ve been in an awful mood about it.

But I do realize that folks move all the time, especially in this economy. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own childhood. My parents decided to move from Wilmington, NC, my hometown, to Eau Gallie, Florida when I was only five and my brother was a newborn. Now I know how lost my grandmothers must have felt, since we were their only grandchildren at the time.

But the two of them were good friends, having met on the job before either of them even got married. Both of these fine women were telephone operators for Ma Bell in the 1930’s. They both eventually married my grandfathers and settled down on the same street to raise their children. Both families attended a small Baptist church on that same street. My parents were the epitome of “childhood sweethearts”. They met as youngsters in Sunday School.

Having their children and grandchildren move to Florida in 1963 meant just one thing for these two lifelong friends, who were by then both widows. Road trips! My mother’s mother, Miss Gladys, being known as a tomboy all her life, of course drove. My father’s mother, Miss Lucy, being one of the prissiest women the South ever turned out, of course rode. Oh, and she talked. If there is one thing Miss Lucy was good at, it was talkin’ yer ears off.

I’m pretty sure she had some stories that probably lasted the whole trip.

To say my brother and I  looked  forward to these visits would be an understatement. It was a car full of love ( two grandmothers at once!)  that pulled into our driveway a few times a year, just in time for supper. They would usually stay for a few days, bestow us with hugs and kisses and gifts and plenty of grandma stories, and then make the trip back.

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The two ladies seated in this picture are my grandmamas. The one on the left, in the dark glasses, is Miss Lucy. The one on the right, clutching her purse, is Miss Gladys. I think this picture was made at Miss Lucy’s birthday, when she was about 89. When she passed away, a few years later, Gladys wrote the following poem, describing their road trips to Florida to see me and my brother.

LETTER TO LUCY

You passed the door of mystery
The door we’ll face one day.
We breath and live in this world
And one day we’re taken away
To a place with streets of gold
No sickness or sorrow there
Just love and beauty I am told.
God’s love is everywhere.

I’ll always remember my co-pilot
Who talked and guided the way
On trips to see our children;
It always took a day.
On 17 was the way to go
No super highways then.
Some day this I know
You will be my co-pilot again.

With Love,
Gladys (5/19/03)

I’m certain of few things, y’all. One is, I was very close to my grandmothers, even though I was growing up over 700 miles away. And I’m determined to be close to my grand daughter, if it’s the last thing I do. Two, I know my grandmamas, grand ladies that they were, are together again right now. Gladys was able to join Lucy last October. They are up there somewhere right now. And, of course, Gladys has the wheel.

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For Wordless Wednesday – BOOKS

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This photo is for Wordless Wednesday, hosted by Dixie over at French Lique, Texas. The theme for this week is “Books”. Since it’s kinda hard impossible for me to post something anything without at least a few words going on and on about it, I have to tell y’all about this photo. This white headed, beautiful southern lady is my favorite author and my Grandmother, Gladys Parker. She passed away last October at the young age of 96, and her mind was sharp as a tack right until the very end.

In this photo, she is sitting at her dining room table in her tiny apartment, which she called her “Penthouse on the Third Floor”.  She is looking over a book of poems that she wrote, a collection called “Then and Now.” The picture on the table is an original oil painting, also her’s. She was a self-taught artist, poet, beloved mother and the epitome of a grand, southern matriarch.

You can read more about Gladys, and read some of her poems, by visiting her blog, The Rock of Gibraltar, here.

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For more Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday photos, visit the other participants at French Lique, Texas, by clicking here.

What If… we could just slow down?

This week’s Spin Cycle is about the topic, “What if?”

I liked this poem, because it makes me think about how short life is, and what is really important.

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How Do You Live Your Dash?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning … to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1900-1970)
For that dash represents all the time
That she spend alive on earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard…
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat others with respect,
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash….
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
Author Unknown

CHRISTMAS TIME

Grandmama,

Although you are not going to be here today,  I made you collards. Your poem is proudly displayed on our mantle, you know, the one you wrote for us a few Christmases ago about a “little” dog, named Hannah. As we open our gifts this morning, our thoughts will be with you, and the many years we were lucky enough to have you in our lives. We will be remembering your sweet, smiling face and your words of encouragement.

Even though you didn’t make it to Christmas this year, you did get to remind us all of Christmas and make us all laugh when you joked about being “Rudolph the Red Eared Reindeer” while you were in the intensive care, and they had taped a glowing red oxygen monitor to your ear.

Some of us are not doing so good today, Grandma. I think Ryan and his girl need to be gently reminded again, of the advice you gave them the last time you saw them, “to just be good to each other”. If you have any pull in these things now, we could use a little help on this one.

I hope you are enjoying a big bowl of collards with Mama and Papa Green, all your brothers and my Uncle Billy. Please thank them all for me, for taking care of you until we can be together again. Loving you, every day, your grand daughter,

Ginger

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CHRISTMAS TIME

Christmas music is in the air
With songs and praise every where.
It fills our hearts with love and joy
For Mary’s child – a baby boy.

This child was born many years ago.
His name is Jesus and we know
The Story of His humble birth
And mission here on the earth.

Trees are blinking with tiny lights
And dusted with a bit of white.
Gifts wrapped up with fancy bows
What’s in the package? Nobody knows.

By Christmas morn the secret is out.
Just what I wanted is the shout
And happy faces show girls and boys
All excited about their toys.

Its really a magic time of year
A time of compassion, love and cheer.
A time for remembering the Holy One
Jesus Christ – God’s beloved Son.

Gladys Parker
Nov. 2002

I found a letter

I found this letter in my grandmother’s box of saved things. I wrote it sometime in the 80’s. Thank God I had taken the time to write this and send it to her.

 

Dear Grandmama,

I got to thinking about you today and I had a feeling that I wanted to write a poem about you. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a letter would be more appropriate. A poem seemed unable to express what I wanted to say.

I want you to know, without a doubt, how very much I love and cherish you. You have been, if not the biggest, then almost the biggest influence on my life. I was reading in my baby book yesterday (I found it while I was reorganizing my closet) where Mom had written that I received my first baby doll at age six months from “Grammie Parker.” And I thought, “how fitting”. I know that then, as now, you were sacrificing what little you had to bring joy and growth into my life.

 

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I’m so glad that now my children have a “Park” in their lives to think about little things that will bring happiness to them, like a box of favorite crackers or their very own trash can. I know money can’t buy love, but you have used what little you had as an instrument to express yours. And it’s made such a difference in my life, as I know it has to the rest of your family.

I have always felt very close to you, since we are both artistically inclined, but I don’t know if I inherited what talent I have or if I was just patterning myself after you. Probably, I suspect, a little of both. I loved you and wanted to be like you. You have always been just like a Rock of Gibraltar to me, someone I could depend on and trust through anything.

You have always defended me against the world, yet you expect the best from me, and are quick to lovingly correct me when I’m wrong. As a result, I try to measure up to your expectations, because I want you to be proud of me.

I am proud to be a part of a family that I have, but never really knew – your parents. You have made them seem real and close from your sharing with me about them and I love them for raising you like they did. I am so fortunate for having a mother like Mom that I am close to, also, and I feel that you deserve the credit for that, too. You passed your values and love to her and made her the caring mother she has always been to me. She is really terrific! I couldn’t ask for anyone better in a million years.

There is one more thing I want to tell you. I pray that, God willing, you will have many more years to spend with us, But I know that some day you’ll be taken from me. I think about it sometimes and I know you do, too. Mostly, I wonder how in the world I’ll bear it, not having you around. So I thought maybe if I at least told you a little of how I feel about you, it will be easier knowing that you know. I don’t want to be guilty of waiting until it’s too late to say things. You are too precious and too special for that.

Grandmama, don’t ever feel lonely or unloved. I will love you with all my heart until the day I die. A part of you will always be in me, between what I’ve inherited naturally from you and what you’ve taught me.

My greatest hope is that when I’m an old, white headed lady, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will love me like a “Grandma Park” and will squeal with joy at the windows when they see me coming to visit. Because if I can be half the lady that you are, then their joy will be very great and sincere and their lives will be enriched and changed for the better. And I will tell them all about their Great – great – great Grandma Park.

Your granddaughter, and so proud of it,

Ginger

I hope she’s in Papa’s arms now

This beautiful, magnificent woman, Gladys Green Parker, decided to go on home last night. I was lucky enough to be her oldest grandchild. She was a poet, an artist, and the Matriarch of our family. Right now, I hope she is reunited with Papa and Mama Green and listening to their stories again.

 The Story of Gladys

 Let me tell you about my family and my earliest recollections. There was Papa, Mama, six boys and me, the only girl. Two boys came along before I was born – Alvah, age 4, and Morris, age 2, who was called the “knee baby” because he was just walking good and after I was born, he was “next to the baby.” Four more boys came later.

My Papa, Baxter Council Green, was a wonderful, smart man. He was born and raised in an area known as “the green swamp” near Abbottsburg, N.C., a little old place outside of Bladenboro. Although he only had a fifth grade education, Papa was a smart man. He could do figures as well as anyone and read real well, too. His learning was all from experience. He and my brother Alvah invented a system for cement septic tanks that were eventually put down all over Myrtle Beach, S.C. Well known and respected in his time, everyone in Myrtle Beach called him “Plumber Green” – and a sign with those words written on it hung on his house, making him easy to locate. When he died, his funeral was a humongous affair – one of the most heavily attended in Myrtle Beach in those days.

He was the quiet type, a true Southern gentleman. With his light brown hair and clean cut appearance, he was handsome in a reserved way. He never had a moustache or a beard. I remember watching him was his face and how he would bale water up on it over and over again. The only remarkable feature he had were his outstanding and expressive blue eyes. When he smiled, his eyes would twinkle. For some reason, he was unable to laugh out loud, so instead of laughter, tears would shine in his eyes.

Sometimes he was rough and stern on the boys when they needed it, especially Morris, who was very witty and dry and seemed to have a knack for getting into trouble. But Mama, who never fussed about a thing, in her quiet way, knew just how to calm Papa. He always put Mama on a pedestal.

There has never been a woman born like Mama. Harriet Adrian Gladden Green, called “Hattie”, was a beautiful lady with soft brown eyes, dark brown wavy hair, a nice, almost olive complexion, a short curvy figure and a sweet smile. No wonder Papa decided to marry her the first time he met her. Papa said, “The first time I saw your mother, she and her Daddy were sitting on their porch, and my stomach did an upside-down.” They both talked to me separately and told me all about their courtship days. His talk was all about her. It seems as thought she was the “Belle of Masonboro Sound” and he had to ride his bike eight miles on an old oyster shell road when he went to see her. There was a lot of pushing pedals for him to woo her away from the Masonboro fellows.

The Courtship of Hattie and Baxter C.

by Gladys G. Parker (7/16/1968)

I always like to hear

Her tales of long ago

I’d draw my chair up near

Her voice was soft and low

Hattie talked the most

About her courtship days

Then she’d smile and boast

About her wiley ways.

The country boys had not a chance

For, coming up from town

Was “Dude”, her new romance,

Biking, ten miles down.

“Dude”, really not his name.

His name was Baxter C.

But, the fellows played the game

Of green-eyed jealousy.

Baxter C. had a friend

Who also lived in town.

One day Bill slipped away

And brought his surrey down.

Oh! She thought she was a duchess

Riding in a carriage.

She had forgotten Baxter C.

Who had his mind on marriage.

Little did she know

He was on his way right then

Suddenly, she saw him!

Cycling around the bend.

No, not a great big fight

But, oh the flurry flew

Alas! She knew that very night

Baxter C. would do.

Papa often smiled

While she talked about her beaus.

He really didn’t care

Because he loved her so.