Watching the Sun

Watching the Sun – Remembering Things Past

I drove down to the lake Sunday afternoon where I had one of those glorious views so that I could watch the sun dip itself into our beautiful Dale Hollow Lake. I thought about my dad and how he loved the water, rivers, lakes, just water. He talked for years about building a houseboat, but mother would have nothing of it, and that was enough excuse to keep him for starting the adventure. I think it might have been a dream that he enjoyed talking about more than doing. I am grateful for my parents, God placed me in a wonderful home and I am deeply blessed because of it. I remember mom and thought about how busy and worried she would be this time of year, planning for a big feast on Thanksgiving and again for Christmas. She loved it but you never caught that in her talking and in her worry. It would have been a dark hour if her ‘children’ had not come home for the holidays.

I ran across my mind those events when we gather at the house at 246 South Lindsey Street, grownups talking, children playing, rooms full of people, but though it all the events of the day were all circled around our being a family and being together.

I remembered the Thursday night that mother died in that house, how it had changed even the aroma of the place. After mother left it was never the same, what she took with her could not be replaced. I thought about dad as the years closed and he stopped dreaming of a houseboat and travel and adventures; it was like the sun I was watching, almost ready to dip itself into the darkening waters of our lake. I asked him one day if he ever thought about the houseboat and he said, “I think there is not enough time to finish it.” He was right for when dreams stop, time begins to run at its rapid pace and like the falling sun it is soon gone.

Darkness fell across me, I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the life that God has given to me; remembering the past was good but living today in now the task.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Published in: on November 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Mr. Turkey

I was either a junior or senior in high school before we had a turkey. Mother always prepared a couple of large hens, not sure if turkeys were not as available, too high or maybe mom just liked to cook what she enjoyed cooking hens it was for most of my life at home.

I do remember the year we had a turkey, we named him Mr. Turkey and we all had a great time joking about Mr. Turkey being so slow, he was slow to cook and he must have been a slow runner for he got caught and frozen for us to enjoy. He was also slow to thaw out, in fact he was slow to eat, we made sandwich out of him for a number of days after Thanksgiving, and in fact I think I enjoyed the cold turkey sandwich with cheese on them the most.

We spent the afternoon going to the ball game, yes the local teams, even our high school would play on thanksgiving afternoon. After all only one person in the family had a TV and we could not all get into their house. Then you had the reception to deal with, turning the outside antenna to get the best picture and that was black and white with a lot of snow and lines in the picture.

Today of course it is much easier to entertain yourself, you don’t have to pretend, you just spend the day on your phone, watching the 200 channels on your TV, after all you have one in each room or maybe spend time on your computer.

But it wasn’t too bad, most of the time we kids would play outside, we even made up games, we “played like” and had a great time. The grownups would spend time with the newspaper, we had those, talking to one another, we knew how, and can you believe sometimes we would just fall asleep and dream of more food to come.

If my memory is still in tack I think it was not so much the food, what we had, it was of all things and the people we shared the day with. Can you believe that we enjoyed one another, now that is a lost art.

Published in: on November 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last Memory

Last Memory

Wayne could still remember the exact moment that he heard his father tell him, ‘that he was good for nothing and never had been and never would be’ it was at his birthday party when he turned seventeen. His father had always been difficult, drunk, and too loud, in all his years of school he only had two friends who ever came to his house and they only once or twice. His mother had insisted on giving him a birthday party and while they had invited about ten people only six showed up, he was surprised for that was four more friends than he had. She had grilled hamburger in the backyard, made homemade ice cream and put up a boom box so they could play music. About the time they had finished their meal, eaten the cake covered in ice cream his dad had come through the door shouting “What is going on around here, who do those cars out front belong to and who is playing that loud music?” His mother had tried to run interference but his father had shoved her aside and walking up into his faced began to shout the words of no good, and who did he thing he was and who were these freaky kids. The friends began to move away when they saw his father slap him, and each of them managed to leave before the full storm raged. He had never felt so bad, so discouraged, so humiliated, and so ashamed of his father and sorry for his mother. After the storm raged, his mother was hit and the grill turned over in the yard his father went to his room in his drunken state telling him to clean up the mess and calling for his mother to come upstairs. He had cleaned up the mess, packed a few things he needed and wanted took the $300 dollars that he had saved and left.

 

After a lot of nights on the road, under bridges, in camps of the homeless, he had made it to a distant uncle’s house and they allowed him to stay with them until he enlisted in the Army. After six years of hard work in the army, doing his job taking classes and saving all the money he could he got out of the army and in two years had completed college. The next ten years found him hard at work in a small upcoming company in New Orleans. They supplied packages of items that were needed by the workers on the oil rigs in the gulf and soon found a very profitable business. Over the sixteen years he had called his mother, hung up when his father answered and talked briefly when he could with his mother. Life at home was the same she said, his father had never mentioned his name and had never changed his ways.

 

He received a call from his mother telling him that his father was in the hospital dying, so without telling her he flew back to Memphis hoping that a final moment might bring some peace. It didn’t, his father had died soon after his mother had called and the storm of Wentworth Circle was over.

 He begged his mother to come and live with him but she had a few friends in the community and the old house was paid for and all the investment she had. Wayne walked into the backyard, remembered that night eighteen years ago and wept. Before he left he arranged for all the repairs to be made to the house, got his mother a new car and promised to stay in touch. For the next thirty years she received three calls a week, a visit each month and a nice check from her ‘no good son’, and even flew in a plane to New Orleans a few times to visit. After her funeral he placed a marker that covered both her grave and his dad’s for no one had bother to do so in all of those years. He wept as he stood and looked at those two markers and realized that while they looked so much alike, they stood for so much that was different in his heart. In love he wept for his mother, in heartache he wept for his father.

Ivan

inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on November 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Shorter Path

The Shorter Path

I have moved into a new decade. On the eleventh day of this eleventh month I moved from the seventies into the decade of the eighties. My family and friends paid a lot of attention to me; we had a wonderful time, with a great attendance in church and a lunch with more than a 160 people it would be a hard event to improve on.

My wife Carole and the ladies of the church made the fellowship room look like we were in a great hotel banquet hall. Pictures of me were at all of the tables and our catered lunch from The Dixie was more than we could eat, not to mention my special cake and the other great deserts.

From our blended family of six children four were here, one lives in Germany and the other one was sick, not  bad four out of six. Friends from afar and my family of First Baptist and it was great.

I was on cloud nine on Saturday and Sunday, grandchildren making over me, cards to open, it just could not have been better.

The children left, the friends went home, I kissed Carole and watched her drive her worn our self toward Nashville and the schedule of work on Monday. As I listened to the empty house, and tried to fall asleep my mind would not leave the fact that I am now 80. The path before me is shorter; the journey will not take as long to reach the end as it did when I was a boy at 246 South Lindsey Street.

God promised me that the house was not empty and that no matter the length of the path He would be there for every step of the way.

So I take the years behind me and stand on them as I take the steps before me. Byrdstown is a great place for the shorter path.

Ivan    ivanraley@gmail.com

inraley@yahoo.com

 

 

Published in: on November 13, 2017 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment