The Sinkhole…

 

The Sinkhole…
(A short-short story from a collection of memories from the author’s childhood)
The summer of 1943, my family became the proud owners of a “newer” icebox; the old one became rusty with the tiny leaks that allowed water to escape. A block of ice bought from the regular Saturday trip to town wrapped in burlap kept to ice cool all week, by Saturday morning the burlap wrap, which southerners called a “toe sack” lay in a lump of water. My grandpa and the one old mule we owned pulled the old rusty icebox to a sinkhole in the pasture. The ever-sinking hole was round as big as a house, the walls slanted toward a bottom that provided an ever-ending change throughout the year.

As children, my sister Billie Wayne and I knew not to go near the sinkhole, that it may sink into the earth and we would never be seen again. Of course neither of us we afraid of it! It was also the summer that my ten-year-old sister convinced me that she had a new place for me to play; excited I ran with her into the pasture and jumped right into the sinkhole. My only sibling always played her never-ending spiteful tricks on me; with the promise of playing “train”, she the conductor and me the passenger, she shoved me into the old icebox and shut the door. I could hear her laughter as she ran out of the sinkhole.

One would have thought that my grandfather would have turned the old icebox face down, but he dumped it, watched it slide into the hole and rode away; it landed on its back with door exposed. He was my daddy’s’ father, the one who ran off leaving him and his mother when he was just a boy. It was our mother who forced my daddy to have him come see us, she taught my sister to call him Papa, in time I would only refer to him as Mr. Johnson.

I do not want say that my sister shut me in the icebox on purpose, but as the years went by I did wonder if her constant tricks, comments and bossiness was in wanting to be an only child had anything to do with it? Of course, my mother wanted her to be the only child as well.  As a family, we had established our pattern for family life…my mother would always have Billie with her and tell me to run along with my daddy while she and Billie planned their day. Daddy tried to remember how long I had been gone, he begin to calling my name, even getting the old dog “Buster” to look for me.

Mother tried to reassure him that I was out in the woods somewhere; Billie Wayne continued cutting cookie dough without saying anything. My grandfather got on the old mule and headed into the nearby sugar cane field knowing that I sometimes stole a bit of sugar cane to suck on. Yes, at barely four years old I would play in the fields and woods, a wild child so to speak.

The grandpa was moving slowly hoping I would hear them calling my name when he thought of the old icebox. It never entered his mind that he might kill that old mule by running him so fast in the hot Alabama sun, but he jumped off his back, sliding down into the sinkhole. When he jerked open the door that I was blue, he hollered for my daddy while blowing into my mouth; now who would have known that he knew CPR. He didn’t he just wanted to get air into my lungs.

Daddy saw grandpa riding across the pasture toward the sink hole; he knew instantly that something was wrong he had never seen the old mule move so fast. Daddy rode across the pasture on Red, the big roan quarter horse hooves pounding the earth, Buster barked, it would seem even the animals knew that a threatening cloud had settled over the old Hamilton Place, the farm my daddy worked.

Daddy jumped into the sinkhole pulling me from my granddaddy’s arms, he climbed back upon Red leaving grandpa behind, and he rode to the gully where we went for water. Coming out of a big boulder was a stream of cold water, almost as if it had been frozen and was melting; it flowed into a rock where time had formed a bowl before it lapped into a small creek.

Daddy ran tossing me into the ice-cold water, there is no explanation for what he did but the cold water shocked me into breathing. I would like to think that both God and Nature had a hand in keeping me alive that day through the hands of my daddy.

When daddy carried me into the house the first question my mother asks had I been swimming in the Pool’s catfish pond again. Daddy told her what happen, while daddy placed me on the bed my sister and I shared; mother continued to chastise me for playing in the sinkhole.

“You have got to stop running the woods and pastures, you should try to be a lady; more like your sister” She looked toward my sister with a pride.

I raised my head off the pillow long enough to see Billie Wayne smiling and when no one was looking she stuck her tongue out at me!

Billie Wayne passed away in 2009 at the age of seventy-six years old; we had become sisters and friends only the last thirteen years of her life. I maintained the relationship until she stops speaking in 2006; it took be those thirteen years to find out that she had never changed.

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

In the Darkness of Night…

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Dedicated to my Grandmothers, Grandfathers and My Daddy…

 

In the Darkness of Night
I hear the cries of my grandmothers and grandfathers, I feel their fear; I walk with them in my dreams on the Trail of Tears. Their feet bloody as they walked the rutted trail, every scar on their backs another story to tell.
The Grandfathers and their families stood tall, their backs they refused to bend, and the pale strangers herded them like cattle to a far off land, to die in hot barren sand. My people believed the land belonged to no one, given to all by the “Great Mystery”; still they died with broken souls never knowing that their story in time would cover the blood-splattered pages of history.
My people watched as women gave birth and warriors carried the dead, the children went to sleep hungry with the ground as their bed. The day came when these great people were corralled, given musty water and bug-infested cornmeal to eat, in a place with no hope, to the pale man they were bound; a killing field where the blood of my family spilled upon the ground
I hear you my grandmothers and grandfathers, your cries, do not go unheard in the darkness of night; for in my dreams I walk with you, I feel your fear; I wake each morning with the taste of your tears.

 
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

FLYING WITH BROKEN WINGS…

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Flying with Broken Wings…

 

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At Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018149&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

 

Have a great week…

 

 

 

Days of Pondering…

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Here we are beginning August…I have many things to recall from this month as all the others.  January marks the death of my father, my daddy the subject of another book series; and brings to mind my mother-in-law and the Smith family, which I have a book outlined waiting in line for others to be finished.  A gift came on a cold January day, my granddaughter Elizabeth was born.

February marks the birth of my oldest son Carl, a wonderful father and husband, towers over all, intelligent, a man who can take control when necessary, he and Cindy have given me three wonderful grandchildren.  February is also the month that my daughter Terri was born coming into a world with fiery lungs that has only grown throughout the years; her words are quick and sharp, and sometimes kind.

March, April and May have been lost in the foggy paths we all have taken.  June brought the baby of the family Chuck, a quiet, intelligent man; loves life and his wife Karen; he is a serious writer and educator.  July, a month of remembrance, the loss of my daughter, the pain never goes away; the scars of her death are prominent on my mind and soul.

This month August, I remember my only sibling, my sister Billie passed away.  September is the month I lost my mother, one that I loved and the one who could never love me back, a painful month when I  truly felt like an orphan.  The other months October, November and December will come and go like a thief in the night; giving us time to reflect again and start another year.

This sounds more like and end of year post, but I sat on my patio alone accept Mason my four legged furry adopted son…and I had to work my way out of the “mood” that I was in…and get back to my latest project a series “The Generations – Secrets and Lies”.

I also thought of all of you, my followers and how lucky I am to have such wonderful support; my heartfelt thanks to all of you.  I wish for you love and happiness.  EAJM

 

At Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

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https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501732166&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flying-with-broken-wings-elizabeth-ann-johnson-murphree/1126510816?ean=9781547051328

 

 

RIP Sam Shepard…

samA great American Artist 

“There are no words to describe how I feel, we have lost another great one!”

 

 

ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE BOOKS AT AMAZON.COM AND BARNES & NOBEL.COM

FLYING WITH BROKEN WINGS

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https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018149&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

BEYOND THE VOICES

11th

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018788&sr=1-3&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

HONEYSUCKLE MEMORIES

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https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-5&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

REFLECTIONS OF POETRY

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https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-6&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

ECHOING IMAGES

66th

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-7&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

ASTERIAL THOUGHTS

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https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-8&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

RUTTED ROADS

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https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-9&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

SACHET OF POETRY

55th

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499018932&sr=1-10&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

MY JOURNEY INTO ART

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https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Johnson-Murphree-2014-07-28/dp/B019NRG4YG/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499019157&sr=1-14&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

 

Thanks for reading and in advance thank you for your comments.  EAJM

 

 Painting below:  Acrylic and Watercolor created December, 2010-The First Christmas without Charlotte…

19.charlotte winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin Weather…

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So…today is Friday and it is cold outside!  Mother Nature loves to play games with the people who live in Wisconsin.  We have had it in the 70’s and must now endure the mid-40 mark.  The coat I placed far to the back of my closet is now at the front.

The first time I knew there was land beyond the “Mason Dixon Line” was in March 1956, I was about seventeen years old, just married to a boy that had “faked” his southern accent.  After a wedding so to speak, not a shotgun one but arranged by parents to keep this young boy in the south.  That story too long for one post.  The arrangement did not work, as he was an Alabama transplant living in Wisconsin with his mother and stepfather for over a decade, and had always planned to return after he vacationed in the South.

Fresh out of the military he yearned for what was called “STAN & IRENE’S”, yep…a bar.  We went to Chicago by train, switched there to a train going to Beaver Dam, I slept, exhausted from the last two-weeks of sheer horror and missing my daddy; I may as well be a kidnapped victim.  It was dark when we got on that last train.  I stared out the window into the darkness thinking, this person no longer has a southern accent and what do I know about him, nothing.  Yes, I think back see myself as a kidnap victim.

When I woke in amazement, outside was a world I had never seen.  It was truly the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen other than the white sands and warm gulf waters of Panama City, Florida.  I had on a blue short sleeve sweater and a light green “poodle” skirt with a blue scarf tied around my neck and yes…saddle shoes and white roll down socks

This post was supposed to be about today’s cold right?  Well, I have veered off track.  I stepped off the train in a place called Fox Lake; I was scared and surprised…the “GOOD BOOK” had given me the impression that Hell was hot!

I rode from the train platform into Beaver Dam freezing; even the inside of the car was cold.  When we reached the home of my then husband’s parents it was not much warmer than the outside, but at least the wind was not blowing through the two story – two flat house.  As time went by, I knew that I had been sentenced to Hell for sure; I lived with the Devil and his followers.

When I acquired the proper clothing I loved the clean fresh look of snow, to toss it in the air and something I had never done make and throw a snowball with my new twelve-year-old sister-in-law, I loved snow.

Well, it now sixty-one years later, all of the people I knew then are gone, I hope to a peaceful place.  I still have a southern accent; do not ask me why…it just stayed with me.  I can live anywhere I want too, I continue to choose Wisconsin and its four seasons.

Nevertheless, please it is the end of April and it in the forties…give this ole southern girl a break!

 

 

 

Easter…for Me!

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At the age of three and yes, I can remember back that far!  Easter meant dressing in your best clothes and going to church.  There was always an Easter egg hunt at the church, which was lucky for me, as my mother believed it was a day to worship “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”, not hide Easter Eggs. 

Daddy would put me into one of the two dresses I owned, both quiet plain and ugly, he brushed out my tight as coils hair and mother finished it off in a crown of corncob ringlets.  My mother and sister wore store bought dresses I wore hand-me-downs.  Armed with my one-pound lard bucket I was placed in the front seat of an old Army jeep.  We could only use it on nice days as the cloth top had been removed after the War!

In those days I did not realize that, everyone in the little Rural Grove Baptist Church was dress in their Sunday finery, and that only a few of us were labeled “share croppers” wore everyday clothes.  This did not matter when the service was over, all of the colorful eggs were found, Easter dinner of ham, and the trimmings were waiting at home. 

Daddy who refused to go to church would be waiting on the front porch of our tiny clapboard house, picking his banjo with a few of his farm hounds howling.  Even Soap sticks, our old mule brayed along with the dogs.  When my mother drove up the road, a silence fell across the land.  Relatives came from near and far for that Sunday feast, which she hated.

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By the age of six my mother made certain that I knew that there was “no” Easter Bunny, she may have been tired of me all year long refusing to eat the rabbits that my daddy killed on a regular basis as part of our food source.  I understood by the age of six that the only eggs boiled would go into the potato salad; coloring eggs was a waste of money, to hide them was a waste of time.  She no longer allowed me to hunt for the eggs at church.  By now, I knew why my daddy would never attend church, my sister left home and that left just mother and me. 

By the age of twelve, we had moved from the farm into the city, I was old enough to dress myself and I walked to church alone, for some reason my mother always stayed home with my daddy.  In her later years she returned to the church. 

The Easter Sunday that I turned thirteen, many of us were put into busses and cars to be taken to the backwaters of the Tennessee River to be baptized.  My mother never asks why my clothes were still wet and my hair hung down my back weighing a ton.  Daddy looked at me saying, “Well little girl they got you too”, the subject never came up again as relatives were piling into the front door greeted by the aroma of that big ham waiting for them.

By the age of sixteen, I was teaching Sunday school to an excited group of six-year-olds, I did this for ten years, through the years.  By the age of twenty-six, I was still teaching Sunday school; by this time, I was taking with me my three little girls, their daddy stayed at home.  Now, everyone is gone, my family from my childhood, the husband, and I have lost two of my five children. 

If for no other reason, I have to believe that Jesus existed and rose from the dead to enter his father’s Kingdom in Heaven, for if it is not so that would mean I will never see my family again.  So, with my time getting closer I celebrate that day and to grasp the idea that there is a Heaven and a Easter Bunny; in my mind’s eye a little curly headed child of a sharecropper is skipping on the green grass at the Rural Grove Baptist Church in Alabama hunting for eggs.  Sorry… I have to go; I see another colored egg in the tall grass by the Oak tree!