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Category Archives: Fathers

It is a Blue Bird Day…

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Once again it is spring, warm breezes of May float across the green grass, it strokes the Hosta, Day Lilies, and Bleeding Hearts lightly; the daffodils’ leisurely bow their golden heads ready to sleep in the bosom of Mother Nature.  May is also the month that my mother and father married.

They would have been married forty-five years when he died.  My father was a man of few words, in those early days he turned over crimson soil with an old mule and one blade plow.  The land within time would turn into a sea of the white gold; cotton.  Later, he would work in a steel plant welding; the burns to his face and hands left deep brown scars.  The way he led his life was a testament to his principles.  

When the steel plant closed, he set out on yet another quest; he drove a sixteen wheeler making a California “turn around”, which was driving from Alabama to California and back weekly.  He always had a supply of “Bennie’s”, known to be an “upper or speed”.  He actually worked at this job until he retired; one month before he passed away.  It was his job and drug of choice; with the blood of his Chickasaw ancestors flowing through his veins and Uppers, he was no doubt a “Bad Boy” on that three-thousand-mile road.

My mother, a gracious but cold-hearted woman of the South was among the “career” women of the time.  She chose to be a beautician over being a mother.  When she looked at me with those ice blue eyes and tight lips it sent fear deep into my soul.  She left me to walk the furrowed red rows behind a plow and mule; my father did the best that he could to raise me.  

 My Aunt Vina, my father’s sister kept me during the summer months; she was the mother I did not have in those days.  She taught me to read and write; I was living among the upper class, artist, writers, poets, and politicians.   She and my father taught me how to love, be proud of who I am and believe.

As I walk through these  last chapters of my life I find my home overflowing with paintings on my walls and those to finish on the table, hours spent in reading, writing stories and poetry fill my days and nights.  This short walk down memory lane has been a happy and a sad one; some would say do not take that path through my memory.  However, it is these memories that make up who I am and I like whom I am today.

Thanks to all of you who drop by to see new post.  Have a great weekend, as I too will enjoy the beauty of spring all under a blue bird sky.  eajm

 

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The Coffee Table…

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This is a very, very short story of a long marriage that “ends” after thirty-six years with spurts of happiness and much tribulation; the end came over twenty-five years ago. Now that the logistics is out of the way, this numeric information is relevant to the title…the coffee table. 

I chose to end the marriage that had been filled little happiness and many tumult periods from the beginning.  It is important to know that before ending such a marriage my children were adults.  I walked away on a sunny June morning with a suitcase, my dog and a rented car.  I did not want anything that was a part of my past.  The coffee table bought in the mid-sixties was going to be tossed in the mid-nineties; it had been in the basement of my sons’ home.  Cleaning time. 

I said yes, I would take it.  Somehow it meant something to me; the only thing that I would have from my marriage.  This ageless contemporary piece of furniture carried with it many memories.  Shopping for furniture in 1979 was during a better time, my then husband and I spent an entire day searching the stores until the one meant for us was found.  A few days later the table would be tossed across the room in a rage of madness, the inside frame broken.  I repaired the table and it was like new.

It would appear that the coffee table itself was somehow demonic.  Over the period of ten-years, the coffee table would split open the chins and one cut above an eye of two boys wrestling in the living room.  It placed cuts on grandchildren that tripped and fell on its corners.  It left bruises on shins of the entire family who chose to hurry around the object of discussion.

 

It had its good moments too.  It served as desk where hundreds of thousands pages of homework was done.  Throughout its “life” served as step stool, craft table, coloring table, and eating and snack table.  It has held plants, books and other things during the different seasons.  I smile as I think back at the many good times my children and I had sitting around this table when my husband was out of town.  We glorified the days without chaos.  When I received the coffee table, I painted the dark wood white, a pure color that would remove all turmoil significance.  Throughout these past years, it has been repainted the same white many times.

This brings me to the present and for the record, I have stated many times that the table is being held together by the paint.  Apparently, it was…my four-year-old grandson used it as a bounce board and then I sat on the table to talk to my granddaughter and poof; I ended its life and an era.

 

Well you would not believe the “moans” from my children, “ah can’t it be fixed”?

 

There was no pain in its exodus from my home, well maybe a little as it was heaved into the trash.  I suddenly understood that I had held onto it for the memories, memories that are embedded deep within me.  The good ones I will keep, the bad will soon be hauled away.  I thought about what could have been and never was; time wasted, and I looked for the last time at the only thing that was left of a long marriage… the coffee table.   

 

 

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

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Causalities of Life…

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The homeless cannot sleep on cold nights, some gather around burning barrels, men, women and children, forgotten, shattered and despised by those who are more fortunate… those who have a home, a job.  In the distance, you may hear a baby cry.  Mothers’, Fathers’ are begging for food, living on the streets, no jobs, the family no longer sound. 

Government talks end up in contradictions, a lifetime of poverty is the homeless prediction.   The spirit freezes, fruit of labors rot, life squeezes and struggles persist.   Bad luck smothering heart and soul, hope ceases to exist.  Shifting winds turn into storms, will the world grow wiser or beaten back into servility?  Trust departed, a cardboard box in the streets is where the homeless make their beds, hope disappears and the future appears dead.  Wake up America! 

 

 

Writing

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

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The Icebox…

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The Icebox…

In 1943, my family became the proud owners of a new used icebox.  A square box, one door, when you opened it there were two compartments, one with shelves and one at the top where a block of ice could the stored.  My daddy made the trip into Decatur every Saturday to the ICE Company to purchase a block of ice.  He would wrap in a burlap bag to keep it from melting during the forth-five minute trip home in Alabama’s August heat.  This icebox looked like the old one without the rust looking much like a dead vine crawling up the sides and door.

My Grandpa Johnson (whom I called Mr. Johnson, that is another story), but my sister Billie called him that endearing name.  Anyway, Mr. Johnson (my daddy’s daddy) hitched old Soap Sticks, our mule to a wagon taking the old icebox into the pasture throwing it into a Sink Hole.

It was the summer my ten-year-old-sister convinced me a four-year-old that she had a new game for me to play.  Excited I ran to the pasture with her.  All throughout our childhood she played spiteful tricks on me.  This one was the promise of playing “train”, I would soon know it was another trick.  We slid down into the Sink Hole, a dangerous thing to do but she was more afraid than I was.  I seem to live within my own world where fear was not in my make-up; my memory is vivid from that age, a blessing or curse.

She told me that I was to be the passenger and she the Engineer.  I sat down inside and she shut the door.  I could hear her laughter as she ran away.  Yes, the door should have been removed, but it was 1943, safety was not thought of in those days.

It was a Saturday, and normally I was with my daddy; when he remembered that he had not seen me for some time he questioned my sister as to my whereabouts.  She quickly answered that she had not seen me since waking that morning.  Mr. Johnson started walking through the sugarcane field next to our house and daddy rode his horse into the woods they knew that even at four the woods and fields were my playgrounds .  Soon, Mr. Johnson hollered for my daddy, he heard my dog Buttercup barking in the pasture.  They said my daddy road like the wind, jumping the barn and pasture-fencing heading toward the bark.

Buttercup was barking at the door, daddy jerked the icebox door open and by now, I was  blue.  Scared, he did not know what to do ; he got back on his horse with me across his lap and rode to a spring feed pool that was ice cold in the hottest of summer days.  He laid me in the pool splashing water on my face.  He said that within a few minutes I began to cough and cry.  He thought I had died, and maybe I did.

While Mr. Johnson went to the Sink Hole to turn the icebox over on the door, daddy carried me into the house the first question, my mother asks calmly looking at my limp body…

“Well, has she been swimming in the catfish pond again?” 

Daddy told her what happen, as he placed me on the bed my sister and I shared; mother continued to chastise me for getting my clothes wet.  She looked toward my sister saying

“You have got to stop running the woods and pastures, you should try to be a lady; more like your sister”

Later, my sister smiled when no one was looking sticking her tongue out at me!

Below is my painting, an image in acrylics of our old barn and pasture.

22.Lynns barn

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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