Saturday, September 13, 2014

When you move away

Something happens when you move away. The going home is sweeter, I think. Perhaps because when I returned home, I stayed there in that same house for several nights. Saying good night to Mom and Dad was even more comforting than when I was a kid. Yes, something happens when you move away.

Often I am asked how I can remember all the things that I carry around in this silly head. In my mind, I wonder why I would forget them. My days on the farm were each and every one a treasure....even in those days of holding my father's hand and saying good-bye for a final time. These memories are each and every one a gift. I did not notice them until I moved away.

"Mom, whatever happened to that old silhouette you had done of me when I was about nine?" I asked. Mom usually gave away the things that she considered useless even if they did belonged to one of her daughters.

"Go look for it," she answered. She told me that any time I came home I could look for any of my old treasures in the drawers and closets. It was then and always would be my home. Sometimes she joined me in the search. She knew that I cared for the past that she and Dad had given me and was delighted to know that I cared. Often our searches would end up with a big suitcase of old pictures. An hour would stretch into two with some of the pictures making their way to the kitchen table where Dad joined in. Mom would disappear and return with an old dress of mine or maybe one from her childhood. Memories that she held on to. Something happens when you move away.

In the forty-two years since I have been gone from that treasured place, I have found that the memories have not only followed me but have been increased layer upon layer. A dear friend passes, and the days of baseball in the meadow and the warm embrace that always greeted me wraps around me once more freshly remembered. So why remember? Hm. Good question, Pamela.

Perhaps if I had never moved away, I would not appreciate the little things that were part of your past and mine. Perhaps a blue bottle or a row of pignut hickory trees would mean little. Maybe I would walk down the streets of Greenville uncaring about the old millinery shop or the butcher shop with the winter coats hung by the freezer door. Maybe a plate of mush or a bag of cracklins would not sound nearly as good. Perhaps a woods full of trees would not seem nearly as important as the new homes built in that same woods. Maybe that old school that stood on the corner would not be nearly as missed as it is when you pass that corner on your way to the old homestead. Maybe that walk back a gravel lane to that lovely house on the rise would not be nearly as sweet. Perhaps the memories would fade.

Something happens when you move away. You just might write a column to keep the stories alive.

No comments: