Southern Spring

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The trees are already dressed in early spring shades of green. The skies are a clear, bright blue, the sun is shining golden. The weather is perfect; warm but not too warm, with the brush of gentle breezes. Spring is awake and alive in mid-April in the deep south, full of visible signs that the earth is waking up from its winter sleep.

It’s a quick trip, but I’m thankful to have made the effort. Only 2 1/2 days of being there, since the drive is over 12 hours one-way, and the drive itself takes 2 days on its own. Part of the reason for the visit, other than seeing my parents, was to bring my daughter in college along as well, to see her grandparents, since her schedule is getting busy, and she had Friday and Monday off.

Usually, the dogwoods are in full bloom at Easter. While growing up, without fail, every year it always seemed to be a little miracle how the dogwoods seemed to know just when to bloom. This year, though, only the tiniest bits of green are visible; the dogwoods are late.

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When I was a child, I remember a couple of summers when it rained frogs. Yes, it seemed to rain frogs. The tiniest little frogs were everywhere, and I remember going outside to catch them, as there were dozens and dozens on the ground and on the trees. We called them tree frogs. It only happened a couple of times and then never again. It was something like a fairy-tale, miniature tree frogs covering the ground and the trees.

My parents just had new sod placed in the ground on Friday  morning– a whole new front yard of grass, as it had become uneven, full of weeds, and difficult to maintain. We arrived just in time on Friday afternoon for my boys to help my father set up water hoses and sprinklers to soak the ground. They rearranged them all weekend at various times to get the whole yard watered. I’m not sure how my father will manage now that we’re gone… but, I guess it’s the same as it has been for years now. They have to hire someone to help. They are slowing down more and more each time I visit.

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The 2nd floor back screened porch is one of the best places to sit: a perfect spot nearly year round. The view of the upper half of trees is such a great view, and the porch swing is a favorite spot for all ages. All of the cousins love it, most of them are teens now, and they pile up on the swing. Here is a picture I took several years ago.

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The back screened porch and swing

Just on the other side of this porch is a door leading to a huge outdoor deck. I couldn’t get a picture of the view from there because my phone’s memory bank filled up and I didn’t bring my other camera. I spent some time Sunday night deleting a few apps and emptying all the photos and videos off my phone into my laptop – and now my laptop’s memory is also almost full! So now I will have to transfer all of these photos off my laptop onto a separate hard drive. So anyway, by the time I finished moving my photos, it was too dark to get a picture this time.

We attended the 8 am service in the church I grew up. I saw my elementary school principal and spoke to him. People were extremely friendly and I recognized a few familiar faces of elderly folks, couldn’t remember their names, but didn’t know many people.

A funny  moment was when one person came to us, introduced herself and asked questions. I told her we were visiting my family in town. Then she asked me if our relatives were the owners of a certain hotel. I told her no, that was not my parents. As soon as she left, my college-student daughter lost it, laughing so hard. For her, it was the stereotypical question and she thought it was hilarious. (I should have asked her if she needed a safe place to process that? Just joking, of course. I’m not trying to make fun of legitimate offensive comments. This sort of thing just makes us laugh, and the lady asked her question in friendliness and kindness. She stayed and talked a long time. Some of the things I’ve read are a bit ridiculous, though, in terms of “safe places”, such as the college student who said wearing loop earrings was offensive to her culture…. that is a bit too much. Such a slippery slope. Everything is offensive, then. Wearing blue jeans will offend someone, wearing shoes will offend another person and on and on and on… some of this has gotten out of hand. Should we all end up looking like robots with identical costumes, such as in some of the dystopian movies I’ve seen? Shall we take away every possible unique characteristic or difference that exists among us- not just in terms of appearance, but ideology as well? Is this where we’re headed? Something to think about…. :)

My sister, who lives a couple of hours away, came down for the day on Sunday. The cousins had a short reunion for a few hours before they had to leave.

I’m not sure if I’ll have a reason to return to my home town after my parents are gone. What roots do I have there – if not for them? This was the town they settled in, and where I grew up, after moving from another country. It sure is beautiful, but what reason will I have to visit there, when they are gone? It all makes me really sad, the thought of all of it, losing them and losing that connection to a place I consider home.

It makes me want to stop time for a while and let me run back down south so I can catch my breath for a bit.

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My mother’s rosebush, April 2017

My mother’s rose bushes are flourishing. One of them is blooming and the other one is full of dozens of tiny rosebuds. It is going to be stunning. My pictures didn’t turn out that great this time but you can see a glimpse of it above.

My mother is writing her memoirs, and has them written down until the 1970s, she says. She asked me for help in writing the rest, and typing out what she has, which I can do, because my mother can’t write by hand anymore. Carpal tunnel syndrome, and a bad surgery many years ago left her hands with nerve damage, numbness, with a loss of dexterity and fine motor control. Even after the surgery, she continued to use her hands to make things. She called it her “therapy”, making handmade quilts, crocheting blankets, and knitting scarves.

The problem is that my mother doesn’t know how to use digital devices; she can barely use her phone, though we’ve shown her multiple times. We’ve shown her to use the computer multiple times, but she is very reluctant to use a computer. She doesn’t email and doesn’t text, which is what most of us do now. Nothing seems to work. If she could just speak into some sort of digital recorder, even though she doesn’t know how to save or send files, maybe if she could just speak and record I could figure it out from there. For now, we’re stuck, since we still can’t figure out how to get those stories written down.

On the drive back, the changes in season were visible, from the infantile shades of spring in the deep south, to some flowering redbuds and some greenery in southern Indiana, and finally to still mostly bare trees further north. I did arrive home in time to see that the daffodils are blooming in my yard.

After a long week at a tournament last week, and then the drive south, the quick and fast weekend trip, the time stopping and slowing, and driving all day yesterday, today I’m tired but thankful.

Life is so short, like a short-lived flower. We’re here for just a moment, and then in a breath, we’re gone.

Thank you, dear reader, for reading these small scribbles on a small blog contained in the whole world-wide web. Much love to you, dear reader. 

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