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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!

 

 

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Harnessed a few old thoughts today…

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My mother never had but one child and it was not “me”!  My mother never had but one grandchild, it was not among my own five children.  My mother never had but four great-grandchildren, my two are not among that accounting.  My mother had many great-great-grandchildren I have none to be in that accounting!

While working on my current writing project “Flying with Broken Wings”, I stop to write down a thought that would be in relation to my own autobiography that now comprises of many scraps of paper, some full sheets, including the back of many coffee house and diner placemats.  My “someday” autobiography.

The thought was to write a book about estrangement among family members.  This relates directly to my beginning paragraph.  After Google delivered its list to me, I realized that there is a slight possibility that every family in this world had problems with getting along with each other.  There are dozens of estrangement books, so my starting one is not necessary.   My home library beside many books on fiction and non-fiction consists of dozens of self-help books from emotional to the deranged brain; I have nothing on the family that hates.

 I quickly went to Amazon and ordered one that I thought interesting.  When it arrives, I will read and store with the other books on “real life issues”.  I love to read, and I see my family and myself in these books.  I do not need to learn how to confront family; ninety-nine- percent of them are dead; the other one-percent is dead to me!  These percentages consist of my birth family, mother, father, siblings, and nieces, etcetera.   

In general, I have read articles about family estrangement, mothers, fathers, siblings and the cold war of ending communication.   It is not about who got the spotlight in the family, to me it is about how one selfish act of my own mother changed the dynamics of my entire family.  There are many books and articles about this subject, but I found there are few statistics on the subject of family estrangement. 

If I had to make a statement about why family members cease to speak to each other, I would say one reason is intolerance.  Family members are unwilling to be their real selves and share their real feelings.  Living in a family with estrangements is extremely painful and can be debilitating.  I usually say, these people wear “rose colored glasses”.

Is healing possible, maybe, but my own healing is impossible due to death or stubbornness of these people.   Therefore, I believe that healing starts within, willingness or unwillingness of communication lies with the parting family member.  I chose the path of healing myself, making peace with myself, knowing that I have tried more times than anyone to reach out to family members.  They return to the “circle” of family only to push those who tried to love them away.  I find them to be hypocrites and unworthy of my love.  I have peace of mind, I will be okay, and the scars will heal.  The secret is time.  I call it the “Seven Decade War”! 

Have a great weekend.

 

 

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I did not mind the rain…

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I did not mind the rain…

I am back after a week surrounded by black hills, gray clouds, misty mornings, soft and hard rain.  My last day the Sun decided to make its presence so I spent the day sitting outside.  I did not get to walk as I do when at home because of the rain, as I had left the rain gear behind.

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My first day is sitting at a table staring at my laptop.  I went to bed by eleven PM each day…early for me.  The second day I finished reading a “self-help” book I had brought in case it did rain; I finished it before bedtime.  On the third day, I scattered around on the table notes and sheets of ideas.  Day three through day 8, I wrote non-stop and I completed about 10 chapters of my book “Flying with Broken Wings”, or roughly 25,000 words.   In addition, a fare of various fruits, a soup of assorted beans and salads.

Upon return home Sunday at eleven AM, I fell into the bed and woke at six AM, today, Monday.  That my friend is sleeping.  After checking an hours’ worth of mail, I write this simple post to you the greatest followers in the WORLD.   IN ADDITION, I believe it is time for a nap! 

I’m Back!

 

 

 

 

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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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The Tapestry of Life

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The Tapestry of Life…

The individual self is an actor, life is the stage; we are masters of our emotions capable of expressing self-assurance, joy and rage.

There is a hidden self, living deep within the forest of life, one that we prefer not to show, it is only the image of strength and confidence that we truly choose to expose.

It is during the times of valleys and peaks, darkness and fear; that we wear a mask, we masquerade keeping emotions hidden in the forest of our souls, yet within sight and near.

The landscape of ourselves guides us to better places, and it is the silent strong self that transforms our outward faces.

To believe in our aspirations and make our lives worth living, to hope we cling; it is within the landscape of our strong confident selves that allows us to dream.

We perform in our world upon the stage of life where we remain perfect impressionist; yet it is only when we change the landscape of our lives we find true happiness.

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Books by Author at locations below:

https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=ann+johnson-murphree&sitesearch_type=STORE

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/ann+johnson+murphree

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

[All writing is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.]

Your support of my blog and its contents are appreciated

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

 

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I dreamed that I was a Sheepherder…

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I dreamed that I was a Sheepherder…

My dream overflowed with hope, I was tired, the dogs rested; the flock hungry, bleating throats, a fading moon.  I led the sheep through a field of scarlet poppies to green grasslands.  The sheep pull the grass from its roots, the paling tendrils wilted and died, the day moves on, I am high upon a half reaped ground that I knew would soon turn fallow, but the sheep would thrive.  Then sun lowered itself behind the mountain the day is ending.  Before long a small fire will be lit sparks will rise into the night, and I will speak of gypsy lore to my only friends, the dogs.

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Beyond the fire, the poppies meld like a purple maze into a black star scattered night.  A glimpse of the future lies within my dreams, a glimpse of tomorrow.  I am tired, the dogs all resting; the flock all feed, no bleating throats, I am alone under a fading moon and one dog stands silently while the night fades into another day, and I think… happiness is the lost paradise.

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

Books by Author at locations below:

https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=ann+johnson-murphree&sitesearch_type=STORE

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/ann+johnson+murphree

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

 

 

[This writing is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.]

Your support of my blog and its contents are appreciated

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

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Bayou Gauche Death…

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Bayou Gauche Death

untitledDrawing by Anneka Reay

 

At dawn, Ruby Waters life light went out, in the dark her children cried; a candle glowed against the rustic rough boards of the shanty shadowing the souls left behind.  Laid to rest quickly in the Louisiana heat; the moon cast a glow on her shallow grave.  The children’s tears burn hot upon their dirt-streaked faces as relatives who heard the shots took them away.  Drunken Gat Waters had shot his emaciated wife because she was pregnant again then yelled, “Now dat’ are two less mouths to feed”.  They were swamp folk no one outside Bayou Gauche would ever know.

 

 

 

 

Text Copyright © 2016 by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree 

Publishing Rights AsterialThoughts.100WordShortStories 2016 by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

asterial_thoughts_cover_for_kindle-jpg  https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought-ebook/dp/B01MXWUZ4X/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487141103&sr=1-7&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

 

Bayou Gauche Death is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

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