Returning to our Mississippi home is not an easy task. Perhaps it's aging that puts so many obstacles in our path: renovations left undone to our 40 plus year-old home, the overgrown jasmine in the yard, the leggy branches of our shrubs, the stubborn absence of memory where we placed familiar items,the extensive growth on the few dishes left in the fridge,the dust balls and spiders caught therein--too much for me to take in one week.
To solve the above problems, I visited the library, checked out a few mystery books for the first weekend home and proceeded to forget the housekeeping duties. Now that Monday has passed and I'm sitting here in the middle of the week, I have to wake up in the morning with a chipper attitude to tackle each task deliberately. I'd rather ignore household duties. Let the jasmine continue to crawl up the outside walls, the shrubs go leggy until spring, locate missing papers by chance, throw out the leftovers as I see them, wave the duster around the corners at some given hour each day, and in about a month maybe we'll be back in our routine.
Missing friends here and there...that's the problem with leaving one place and returning to another. In the first week of our return I lost a dear friend in an accident, another to illness. They are my age. A gentle reminder that there'll be more peer deaths until one day not many will be left except those younger. I often think that these deaths are God's reminder for us to delight in every day left us.
I feel invincible. But I'm not.
Returning I realize I've not missed reading our newspaper. Same trouble in our capitol city with City Hall, the mayor, the firemen, the police...not any different from those cities in New Jersey, California, or Anyplace USA. However, there were some interesting articles:
remembering the day that the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd lost members in a plane crash in the small town of Gillsburg, MS;
that a "feisty Asian weed" named Cogon has invaded the northern town of Tupelo, Elvis' old home place. This dwarfs kudzu that is seen scrambling over hills and in ditches of some small towns. Because of its highly effective reproductive method, I'm betting someone's going to find a way to put it in a pill to overpopulate the country;
that the writer darling of our state has written another best-seller: John Grisham. We can tell you how he bought 1000 copies of his first book and tried to sell them out of the back of his car for $10. Not too many takers. Now one is for sale for $3500. A Time to Kill. Grisham has not lived in the state for years now--too many visitors dropping in unexpectedly at his Oxford home. So he moved to Virginia. I guess readers aren't as aggressive about getting a book with his signature as are we Mississipians. One story told of a Saturday signing at a local bookstore with a mile of fans waiting in the hot sun. One lady went into labor, Grisham rushed out to sign her copy so she could be taken to the hospital. The next year she stood in line with another book, and her year old baby. Ahh, we Southerners love a good story.
Outside the state, the local rag printed, in Charlotte, NC, a new exhibit at Levine Museum of the New South examines Southern stereotypes through comics and cartoons. The purpose of this exhibit is to show their own citizens, both recent and old-timers, that stereotypes are rooted in some truth. Anyone visiting the South is bound to say first, "Everyone is sooo friendly." You betcha. Returning from NY we know we're in the South when we go for breakfast at the motel and everyone says "Good morning." Or when the waitress at the luncheon diner says, "Anything else I can do for you, honey?" Ahh, sweet sounds, and no Southern gentleman thinks "harassment".
Well, that's the South for ya'.