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

 

 

The Cost of Freedom…

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Ancestors have served in the military for more than 150 years, all served their respective states with pride. Even though the Civil War was for many reasons both good and bad, all were still soldiers with many giving their lives for their beliefs. Although the poem written at the bottom of this narrative are in fact my mother’s brothers; these boys served in WW I and the Korean War.  The ancestors are Murphree, Roberts, White,  and Vest; members of these families have served in American Revolutionary War, Cherokee–American Wars, Creek War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict. I also want to honor my son and say thank you for  your service in the United States Air Force.

The Cost of Freedom

Standing in what looked like a sea of white as a warm afternoon breeze touched their bronzed faces three young men rode home in an old wagon through fields of cotton unaware that their youth would soon be forgotten.

There was a time when they were three babies crawling at their mothers feet waiting patiently for warm sweet milk and tea cakes luxuries in their world, a poor mans’ treat.

Their mother insisted they go to school and discover their own dreams she vowed at their birth that her children would not break their backs or sell their souls working as poor farmers in the cotton fields planting, hoeing and picking the south’s white gold.

Eighteen, nineteen and twenty years old, they had never known anything but working the red southern soil day after day sacrificing their mothers’ dream for very little pay.

Threadbare overalls shirtless and shoeless they stopped at the dirt road leading to the farm they called home knowing that this way of life was quickly to end their decisions saddened their father broke their mothers’ heart leaving it so crushed that it would never mend.

They reached a nearby creek at setting sun sipped on moonshine laughed had one last day of fun then left for home. It was no more than a shack but supper always a feast for kings then they crawled into cornhusk beds it was a hard life but a life where they knew that they belonged.

Then one winter day it all changed as proud Americans that wore their pride like armor there was no question they would answer the call, not only for them but also for us all.

It was early morning when their father stood quietly drawing on his old pipe under the old oak tree thinking of the warmth of the coming spring while their mother sat in her rocking chair afraid of what the future would bring.

One by one they walk out the door childish faces broad smiles shinny shoes starched uniforms. Three young men proudly walked down the old dirt road that day no one knew when or if they would ever return but these young men knew it was to defend freedom an endowment blessed with the day they were born.

Mother and father held each other as they slowly walked into their home and closed the door while their three young sons walked away straight and tall ready to fight a war in a land they did not know on a faraway shore.

The window of their house proudly displayed three gold stars the days gradually turned into years their mothers’ heart had stopped beating death had finally stopped her tears. Their father grew old as he walked fallow land alone with his life consumed by his many fears.

Then one day as he stood beneath the oak tree drawing in the smoke from his old pipe while thoughts begin to drift back on his life. He wondered where it had gone but knowing that their mother at last is happy that her young sons were finally coming home.

He stared down the road as three shadowy figures grew closer would he recognize them he could not even remember how long it had been. Their youth was gone their smiles were drawn the war returned his sons now three broken and scarred old men.

 

Author’s Books on Amazon.com
Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

Misery’s Problems…

 

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Misery’s Problems…

 
Misery has sent many souls Hell. They condemn

themselves; a mournful cry comes from their place

of unrest. They cry for what they wanted in life and

did not get, they could not be satisfied with what they

had, misery prevailed. They have helped destroy the

earth.
In the beginning there was cold, unceasing and

relentless rain, there seem to be a mutation of the earth

as the decades went forward with minds unchanged.

Days were heavy with hail, turbid waters mixed with

cold and snow, fiery had a tight hold on the waters that

covered the earth, still many humans could not see the

doom and darkness upon the earth.
Their souls are putrid, the soil of the earth is foul, above

them the ravens swarm in and out of the acid sky, the

beast of the earth roams follow grounds. Each of those

misery humans fell to the ground gathering handfuls of

soil casting it into the hollows of the earth. They now

know that gluttonous greed will bring rancid air and their

belly’s growl like the beast of the night with hunger.
There are many who tried to save Earth, they toiled in the

dead ground and prayed for blessings, they watch the

writhing shadows of misery, it was too late. Everyone hungry,

cold, uncomforted, everyone will die for the mistakes of few.

The waters both salty and fresh began to dry, cracks became

vast and deep. The land was soft and filled with bugs and worms.

The air clogged their lungs they cried and they prayed it was

too late. Those who did not believe that one day we would destroy

the Earth now became sinful spirits living in irrevocable doom.
There are those that believed the earth was being destroyed,

there are those who tried to find a resolve for these worldwide

conditions. To those that did not believe the earth was dying,

became accusers living in great pain. Warnings from the sinners

were no more than strange words, there is no way that we can

reach perfection on earth, it is too late. It is not too late to resolve

misery’s problems, we must cease our downward path and heal

mother Earth.

 

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree.2018

 

Living in the Moment…

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Hello everyone, it has been quite a while since I have posted anything on the blog. Health and winter problems, health getting much better, winter in Wisconsin is up and down. No snow, but extreme cold. Wisconsin with ice, snow, rain, cold also comes the flu season, the common cold and a host of other viruses.
Even my four-legged son Mason came down with an ear infection. That may not sound serious; however, he will not let anyone touch his ears. Therefore, he has to be put to sleep to clean them out and put in medicine. Mason will be six years old on January 31. I know that is still young but this breed can have many problems. Time goes quickly and there are times I think about my life without him. He has been an Angel sent to me from “above”.

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I have been laughing about the complex that I live in; it is filled to the brim with “old” people. My laughter is obliged as I am the same age of many, but… We have a central community room, which I never go too. The main lobby is another gathering place during “mail time”. I have discussed with some about the decorations; Thanksgiving décor was up the day after Halloween. Christmas décor was up before I had eaten all the Thanksgiving left over’s. Christmas night all of those decorations came down and Valentines went up! Trust me, Easter décor will appear before the Valentine chocolates are eaten.
How do I know all this…I go to the mailbox about midnight when everyone else is in bed, because of winter I walk Mason in the hallways.
I think the focus here or the main words are independent living. It is not a nursing home, but it is a facility that caters to the elderly. It makes my children happy that I am where there are many things that can make my daily life easier and they do not have to worry about me. I have a sign on my main door that reads, “Do not disturb”. I have a reputation I have been told that of a hermit. I do not want to listen to stories about age, aches and pains…I have my own.
They have “Happy Hour” on Fridays, 4 to 5 PM, you have to be there at four O’clock and you are ushered out the door at 5 O’clock. I went once, then took my bottle and went home. A one-hour Happy Hour just does not do it for me. Nevertheless, such is my life, I am happy.
I am currently working on my new book with no titles at this time; it is all printed out waiting for me to do proofing. This is not an easy job, as most of you know. Either, I hope to devote some of the winter months when I cannot get out to my painting. This book will be a work of fiction based on fact, which I have decided to do. There are a few family members living and I want to respect their privacy.
Therefore, the winter months are here. I will wane away the time on self-made projects. Sharing these moments with my readers, my followers is another great joy of mine.

The Chickasaw – Part 2

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My last entry I wrote of a feeling of impatient irritation in reading “FAKE” or “REAL” news, that feeling continues however I have not had time to post; please excuse me; the mind or body did not cooperated these past few days .  My depression sometime has a life of its own that I cannot win.

I told you of my great-grandmother who was the “Keeper of the Memories” for the family.  Everyone called her “Ma”;   I spent many hours sitting next to her rocking chair just listening.  You read of her father Fosee, her grandfather and grandmother, all Native Americans living in Alabama Territory.

(Ma as the storyteller continues) However, Fosee like all of the boys in his vision could not wait to go on his Vision Quest.  Early one morning his father woke him it was time to find his own Totem.  At the edge of the forest (this would later be known as the Black Warrior Forest), he was shown a path that he must follow, yet, to find his own path in life.  Somewhere down that path, he would discover himself.

On that path he saw many signs of small animals, he found a bush with his favorite berries; quickly pushed his hunger out of his mind, he could not eat until he discovered his path in life.  Mid-day he came upon a clearing Fosee lay down in the tall yellow grass staring at the sky and watching the clouds drift by; he drifted off to sleep.  It was in that sleep he dreamed that his grandfather was with him; Fosee smiled when he looked at the leathery chiseled face with deep furrowed lines and the long white hair cascading around his strong shoulders.  Then he heard his grandfather calling his name, Fosee jumped from his warm bed of wild wheat and ran toward the river, he had much to do before dark.  Fosee carried rocks and cedar branches to the top of a large flat rock, the made a circle placing twigs in the circle, he used flints to light his fire and was soon fast asleep.

Fosee did not move from the flat rock where he drifted in and out of sleep both day and night, he was hungry; one day led to the next.  On the third day, he leaned over looking at the river below; then he thought that he heard his grandfather.  Then, he saw him, sitting across from him, the smoke stung his eyes and it was like a thick fog, but he could hear his grandfather talking to him, although his mouth never moved.  It was the spirit of his grandfather.

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On the fourth day came and this would be his last night on the rock, floating in and out of consciousness.   The eastern sky looked like the forest was on fire, the western sky a full moon seems to be dipping behind the cliffs that edged the river.  Suddenly, a Hawk with massive wings glided over the fire landing next to the circle of rocks.  The Hawk spread his wings pointing at one of the rocks saying, “This is where you life began”; then he spread his wing around the circle saying “This is where you life will end”.  There was one rock missing.  Fosee returned to the path, the Hawk followed him, and then swooped down landing on a fallen tree.  When he looked back to the path there stood his father and they returned without talking to meet his mother at the cooking fire.  He turned to the center yard saying, “I am no longer Little Bird, my name is Hawk”.

 

Resource – Storyteller – Jane Over-Town “Overton”
1848-1954 at the age of 106 her mind was
Like a steel trap, she never forgot anything,
It was her body that was ready for death; she lay
down for an afternoon nap and woke only to
say goodbye to the grandson she raised, my father

Post Writer – Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Great granddaughter

 

 

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…

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NEW BOOK: FLYING WITH BROKEN WINGS…

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Flying with Broken Wings is about the life of Charlotte Jean Murphree. Charlotte was not a famous person, in fact, not too many people knew her, but those that did knew there were many facets to her life. the book tells of fifty-two-years of daily testing of her will to carry on and the misfortune she faced. As a baby and young girl she was made fun of by schoolchildren, her progress was slow but she never gave up the fight to overcome her disabilities. As an adult, she fought Cerebral Palsy, Living with Bipolar, Depression and Schizophrenia disorders. Charlotte lived not only with herself but she endured the “Voices” that lived within her for over thirty years. This book is about her beginning, her middle and the end of her life.

This book was a labor of love, Published in June 2017, now on sale at Amazon.com