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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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Green Grass and Heather

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Green Grass and Heather…

It is morning and I find myself facing the eastern sky to bless the new day; I watch in awe as the coolness of the night melds with the golden rays of the sun.  As if a stranger to my own body, I run down a furrowed road, wind caressing my face, I am at peace living in the moment in the right place.  I leave the road to follow a path into unfamiliar woods; I stare into the darkness beyond the trees. 

 

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I walked out of the darkness into a meadow, a sea of green grass and heather spread before me like purple froth upon a stormy sea; I began to run wildly at the anticipation of being free. As I reach the foot of a mountain my life, seem so very clear, I knew that freedom was very near.   At the summit, I leaned over the rocky ledge, suddenly I begin to fall; will I die when I hit the bottom I thought.   I plunge toward the valley below jolted to consciousness by moans that fill the void where I lay; I opened my eyes dawn was outside my window, and I realized that I had been dreaming; it was another new day.

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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My Shitty First Draft…

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How did I get where I am today?  The question I wrestle with is how I am going to get through this day, tomorrow and the next day.  I did not make any New Year resolutions; I do not believe in them, it only lays the groundwork for failure, my failure.

Every day I find myself at a place where I must decide what path to follow; and yes, I sometime feel lost.  I question myself, do I work on my writing fully of my capability; or I procrastinate.  Yes I do!  I get out of bed, walk the dog, have breakfast and sit in front of a blank or somewhat filled screen.  It is then that I go back to the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, check email, anything.  I check some already written sentences.  I now look in the freezer to decide what I will prepare for tonight’s dinner.  Yes, you get the picture, I do finally sit down and write; I try to bring out of myself what is needed to continue my project.

I am certain others who like me write, fall into that mind set of can I really write, can I finish this project.  Procrastination fractures our senses and stops creativity, learning and growing in our craft.  I find myself much like the author Anne Lamott wrote in her book “Bird by Bird”, I am deep into the center of my “SHITTY FIRST DRAFT”.  If you have not read this Anne Lamott book, do so; I keep it on my writing table and reread often, it encourages me to go on. 

So, here I am on January 11, 2017 working on my shitty first draft of “Flying with Broken Wings” and finding many other things to keep me from it.  I am into the first 10 days of this New Year.  Today, my goal until finished is to put in a minimum of 6 hours in writing, in 2-hour intervals with meals and walking between, and any other matters to take care of for the day.  This is my plan…

Good luck to all of you and welcome to the New Year and success in all you do; its day 11 let’s get going.

eajm

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Back from my road trip…

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Back from my road trip…

I needed to get away; from where I live, away from the multitude of “retired” people who live around me, and the stress they put upon their lives and try to push into mine.  I needed to drive, listen to music, spend all day smiling without my heart feeling infringed upon or standing still.  I wanted to be happy and carefree as I drove away from Wisconsin.

The road stretched forever over the flatlands of Illinois.  After driving all day it was time to stop, nightfall was quickly approaching and I was still in Illinois.  The small towns scattered along the way some bustling, others stood like ghosts from yesteryear.  A hot tub and a swim took care of the stiffness and people watching built new characters in my mind.  I had no problem with sleep as I prepared for the rest of my drive through tall, narrow Illinois.

Waking to a swim and breakfast of fruit  I stared out the window at wind and rain; ahead lay an endless road and pounding windshield wipers, then suddenly the sun came through the clouds and I was in Kentucky.   For a while, my thoughts reflected on my life and what route it might be taking me; I recharted my destiny and smiled with the thought of following my own dreams.  The rolling hills of Kentucky and Tennessee open up my mind to my past and future.

It seems as if I have been lost my whole life within a world that I did not plan for myself and I remembered the old cliché, is this all there is?  My dreams had slept for years waiting to be awakened as I collected life’s baggage and continue to question life.  At times the question haunts me still, Is this all there is?

I stopped in Alabama to visit family, eat familiar foods, swim in blue waters and get back in touch with my roots; the ones that I ran from years ago.  Leaving to return home, I circled back into the hills of Tennessee, lingered among the folks there and took in the smells and sights of the South.  I allowed myself to enjoy the beauty of Kentucky and grand horses that grazed upon blue grasses.  I somehow glided through Illinois without noticing the flatness; it was no longer boring to me.

When I reached the sign that read, Wisconsin, I knew that I was home; I love the South, but I had been gone too long.  Past that Wisconsin sign the grass looked greener, the air fresher and I smiled.  It took two weeks and over two-thousand miles for me to realize that I did not need a road trip to find peace and happiness, it was around me; it was the place that I had lived for years and had not really called home.  Those of my age living in the village that I had considered “God’s Waiting Room” would soon turn into characters in yet another story and their aging lives would no longer impact mine, as age did not fit into my plans.  I love my home, my little village; and I could already smell the wonderful scents of home baked bread coming from Saturday’s farmers market, taste the season’s vegetables.

As I pulled into my garage, I had but one thought…now it is time to get back to my dreams, the dreams that were mine.   eajm
 

 

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Fading Rose

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A familiar road, no longer gravel;

thirty years it was time to make this

trip; days grow shorter and the years

pursue one another with a fierceness

like no other time in my life.

The church is weather worn as are

many of the headstones with crumbling

edges; the rows are wider and longer

with newer ones in at the end of a narrow

road.

Life has grown poignant, stronger, tears and

laughter are measured by the emotions of the

day; friends and love ones are gone, the heart

has more understanding and sorrow slowly slips

away.

I loved once, he died before I myself was free,

like the last rose of summer, faded, gone; when

one is old and gray the once soft look now deep

shadows, thoughts turn inward.

It is a time to be old and a time to say goodbye,

I gaze across the stone barricades all inscribed

with names; I wonder why have I been left behind

so long while their souls are free.

©2015.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Poetry

 

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