2017 – A to Z… R: Conversations with Mama… The Best of!
I married and moved away from home when I was 19, so I didn’t grow up stopping by Mama’s for afternoon chats. Living almost a thousand miles from home, a nightly phone call is how I stayed in touch, as she’s gotten older, it’s how I check in on her. As I became involved in researching my family history, it was often how I heard the family stories. I recorded the usual dates and names, but all the tidbits of family stories…. well where was I going to put them. That was how Conversations with Mom evolved, and I eventually blogged those conversations. What better choice, than to glean an A to Z of my favorites here to celebrate Mama’s birthday month; she turns a spry 87 this April, but “mums” the word on me spilling her birthday number here!
During the month of April, I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for my 2nd year… both on this blog. I will post each day, except Sundays… using a daily alphabet letter in my theme of “Conversations with Mom… The Best of.” If you’d like to read more blogs, hop over to their Facebook page.
R… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
R is for Rabbit, Riddles, and Rocks… Oh, My!
“I don’t know why I still remember this, but I can still see you and your friend Janet doing the Teaberry shuffle as you crossed the street. The two of you held your invisible rabbit Harvey’s hand as you walked down the street, upon reaching the corner, you let go of his hand to do the Teaberry shuffle, then continued on across the street. Then you walked to the drugstore, plopped on the stools, always leaving an empty stool between you, and order a coke for yourselves… and Harvey – your invisible rabbit. It was after watching the movie Harvey, that you girls found your invisible rabbit.”
“My daddy ate possum, squirrels, rabbits, doves, and probably would have eaten a bear if the opportunity had been there. One time we had a possum who would come to the back door nightly to eat the bread I put out for him. I remember mama cooking possum one day afterward, but I didn’t want any… thinking it was my possum.”
“When I moved back to the farm with daddy, I’d come home to find the doves he’d shot in the yard. He’d throw out corn in the yard, then sit quietly with his rifle – waiting. I’d clean and cook them for him, but I really didn’t want any. I remember him and Leroy putting out rabbit boxes in the woods. That was another meat I didn’t want any part of. They often came into the yard to eat the apples that fell off the horse apple tree. All kinds of animals came around the farm… we lived in the country. I remember your father going rabbit hunting with Bobby White in Perry; they went at night with the jeep and shined the lights to blind the rabbits. (I remember going with them one time)”
“Your father had pretty eyes – often referred to as bedroom eyes and you have eyes like your daddy. Melissa has eyes like me, round eyes. Allan used to say I had rabbit eyes – not sure what that meant. Your father often said my eyes could stare a hole in you. Allan’s son Clark would say, “if Angel starts looking at you with those eyes – look out, you were in trouble.” You can always tell how I feel about you – from my eyes – they talk! Stephen has eyes more like you.”
Mama always told this riddle through the years and have to think really hard to understand it… and remember it: “My father told me this riddle when I was a little girl and I have told it to many, but they never get it. I’ve tried to explain the answer, but they usually end up saying, yea OK! “A man goes to jail to visit another man. He tells the jailer,” if you can answer this riddle, will you let the man go free? The riddle is “brothers and sisters I have none, but this man’s father is my father’s son!” So who is the man?”
When I called tonight, somehow this came up… “ There was a tree up on our hill, a sapling growing up right between two big rocks. It was my favorite place to ride – I’d shimmy up the tree and wrap my coat around me and the tree and get it rocking – almost touching one side of the ground and over to the other side. It’s a miracle I never flew off and hit those rocks. Daddy would be out in the field plowing, never saying a word to me. Behind the barns was a tree we called the “lighting tree” – as it seemed to be petrified from being hit by lighting too many times.”
One of the more popular “large” rocks in Siloam – Before and Now!
“I was thinking about Flat Rock from the other night. Yes, there was a spring there. I remember hearing my cousin Kenneth talk about it. While I’ve never seen it, but he used to go swimming there with some of the guys. I probably wouldn’t have even jumped in, thinking there were snakes lurking under that water. Too bad they didn’t make Flat Rock into a resort, as it was something to see; you could walk around and around, and see nothing but flat rocks. I never knew who owned it back then, but everyone went there to have picnics. Daddy even went fox hunting down there sometimes. The dogs would track the foxes over the flat rocks, while the men sat and probably had a few cigarettes, told tales while listening to the dog’s bark and howl. They could tell by their yapping if they were just running or had treed a fox.”
There was no water running through Slip Rock the day we rode by – we stopped on the small bridge and could still see some big rocks on both sides of the small wooden bridge, but now they were all dry; it was once a place I used to walk and wade through. Mama said… “this used to be “the place” to come in my day, the water was crystal clear as it ran over the rocks. They called it Slip Rock because the rocks were so slippery and smooth from the water running over. The large rocks at the end, way down through the woods, were really slick, especially the big one that slanted down toward the pool of water. We used to slide down into the water below – that was our entertainment and where we cooled off! “
“I didn’t go to the center today as I overslept… so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. I’m really sore from moving around all those rocks in my garden the other day. Boo didn’t mind, he just rolled over with me, the two of us are so lazy!”
“Jernigan’s Bridge was an old wooden bridge down from White Plains. There were wide flat rocks alongside the stream of water – just right for sunbathing. I remember one time I was down there with my best friends daughters, Pat and Debbie (Willie Mae’s daughters) and we pinned big leaves all over our bathing suits. We looked like we were only wearing leaves! I don’t remember whose idea that was, but I was just as crazy as the kids back then.”
“It was always dangerous to be outside in the yard, on the farm, when it stormed. The ground on the farm was full of iron rocks, and they attracted lighting. I remember one time when a ball of fire rolled all around the well house after lightning struck the ground.”
After talking about rocks, Mama remembered about the Lime Rock Plant in Perry. “Outside of Perry there was a place called the Lime Rock Plant. Daddy and I took you there once when you were small, but you probably don’t remember. We’ll have to go there again when you come down sometime. I remember riding around on some dirt roads through there and picking up rocks and even some seashells. You could find rocks that had plants or animal indentations in them… like fossils. I don’t know if it’s even open anymore, you’ll have to find out.”
While riding through Greene County, Mama’s words were. “All around Siloam, you see those big rocks in the farmer’s fields. There was a large rock back in my daddy’s backfields that I loved to crawl up on and sit. Somewhere around Siloam, there is one really big rock that looks like the head of an eagle. It’s been said by many that all the big rocks around Siloam are the actual roots of Stone Mountain. You don’t see these type of large rocks in the farm fields anywhere else except around Siloam and White Plains. The granite rocks of Stone Mountain are said to stretch for many miles underground, so they could very well be the roots of Stone Mountain.”
My mother grew up on a small farm in Georgia and has more memories of her childhood than I can only dream to remember. If you’d like to follow along from day 1, click on 2017: A to Z… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
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