Friday, September 01, 2006
This picture was taken in 1970, it was summer, and my grandparents, my uncle and I were vacationing at Pensacola Beach. The cottages in the background were where we stayed, the Sunray. It was a dump in 1970, it was a bigger dump when they tore them down a few years ago. I sobbed when I found out that those cottages were being destroyed to make room for a resort. Many happy sunburned vacations were spent at this dumpy little motel right on the Gulf. The summer of 1970 is also known in my family as the summer Missy tried to commit suicide twice in the same day. I was six. I didn't know how to swim, I didn't know that I didn't know how to swim. The first attempt was when I floated out on a raft until I was as my grandmother says, "a speck on the horizon". My uncle who had just gotten home from the marines and had had an appendectomy had to swim out to bring me back to shore. For years everyone wondered what kept me on that raft, what made me stay there, floating out to sea, my family dots on the shoreline. One day it hit me when we talking about this, what kept me on the raft was the shadow of the raft, I thought it was a shark. It was only a few years ago when floating around on a raft in a pool, I saw the shadow, that day on the raft so far from shore popped into my head, the shape in the water was the same. I do believe in a Higher Power because something held me on that raft. I even remember being hot, but the "shark" made me afraid to move, much less jump in the water. So Nickey swam out, brought me back, Mamaw was crying so Papaw took me to the pool. What's the first thing I do? Go down the slide into the deep end and suck half the water in the pool in my lungs. Fortunately a teenage girl saw me, saw I couldn't swim, remember I didn't know I didn't know how to swim, she saved me, handed me over to Papaw who took me back to the cabin and said, "Take this child this is the second time she's tried to kill herself today."
Amanda over at Soulemama has had a theme this week of "What* I Love". The two people in the picture with me, I love more than anyone on this earth other than my kids. My grandfather passed away when I was a junior in high school. It still breaks my heart. My grandmother has given me so much, so much, that there is nothing I wouldn't do for her. When I saw the picture of Amanda's grandmother's hands, I cried. I haven't seen my grandmother's hands in several years.
This is what happens when moms have to go digging through photos looking for the perfect baby picture for the oldest son to submit to the yearbook for his senior year. Memories come flooding back, happy, heartbreaking, the yearning for home, a grandmother's arms around you, the swing in the yard at twilight, quiet moments, family stories, crying from laughing so hard, chicken & dumplings, molasses cake, and hugs that heal any hurt.
*edited to correct my mistake, it's What I Love, not Things I Love....