Saturday, July 2, 2011

Oh My Goodness!, Literally

We're back from our road trip, we burned an entire tank of gas plus some, and she slept 12 hours last night, but 25 years from now, when I am her age, I will still be recalling these days and treasuring them.

After putting on my 'big girl panties' and driving to and from the DFW airport, all by myself, for the first time, I picked my mother up and loaded her and her little suitcase into the car. Rushing to get out of the metroplex during 5 pm traffic, we headed southeast. Got to our cabin in the woods (and there's another post out there about having to back up in the woods in the pitch dark), the cabin was perfect, perfect and we were off to the races.

First stop the next morning (and I'm skipping the late night talking, breakfast on the deck with no other sound than critters), we headed to Jasper, Texas where my mother was born. She hasn't been back there for years and years. She hoped upon hope that buildings would look the same, but just as time has had its way with each of us, fires and termites have taken their toll.

Hearing her exclaim, from inside the car, told me this one flooded her with memories in spite of some architectural additions. A building had been stuck in between where there once was space. She pointed and told me, 'That building in the middle didn't used to be there. There used to be an open space and that's where your father proposed to me, after we'd gone to the movie theater. And inside is where we got our marriage license.'

I have that marriage certificate - cast off by her, unable to completely discard it, she'd given it to me for safe-keeping. Someone needed to still treasure that relationship, all those years, even if she couldn't. I stood looking, picturing them there together, full of hopes and dreams and no plans to give up on each other. She tells me they never should have married, but then I wouldn't have come to be. Neither would my five siblings. Only God has the answer to the questions that come up. The 'what ifs'.  Amazing to me that in spite of the failure, hurts and loss, she wanted to start here, where they started. Where I started.

There was the jail, now covered in vines and years of soot and such, and next to it, she told me, 'the hangin' tree.' Quick justice back then. My mind ran to those who were inside, guilty and not, looking out at that tree, waiting their turn.

We opened the doors of that courthouse, feeling the AC hit us with welcome relief, and poked around a bit. Wondering how many lives have been altered in this old courtroom?

Spitting tobacco is apparently timeless. We decided to get a drink elsewhere, just in case someone didn't read the sign!

Burning up from temperatures with triple digits, sweat running down our faces and chests, was not enough to dissuade us from taking it all in. My eyes and heart had a snack; I can only imagine the feast she had. Some of it bitter, and hopefully enough of the sweet to swallow it down. 

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