I mentioned Monday (or was it Tuesday?) that I spent the weekend in Bennetts Point with Mama. It was a “girls’ weekend.” Mama wanted to check up on the place down there, visit with some friends, and attend the community meeting to see what was going on. She also planned to attend services at the new community church, but it is not yet ready for occupancy. We had hoped to take pictures of the new church, too, but the weather interfered with that project!
It has been a long time since Mama and I have had some extended one-on-one time. You know, she has always been my parent, but also my friend. We connect on many levels. She enjoys reading; I love to read. She has been crafty in her years—sewing, knitting, wood working, some painting. She loves to learn stuff. She is interested in many things. She has taught me much about being independent. I think she was a women’s libber before it was popular! I could easily picture her as one of the original suffragettes!
Daddy was often on the road for his job through the week. He worked construction as a laborer, foreman, and finally job superintendent, until his retirement. That meant he often went where the work was—Owensboro, Kentucky; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; various places in North and South Carolina and Georgia, leaving Mama to raise three children and keep the small farm going. I learned a great deal about being independent, making decisions, and being strong from Mama during those years. Even during these last months of Daddy’s life, Mama was strong. She told me that she had been preparing herself to be a widow for the last thirty-five years or so, ever since Daddy was diagnosed with cancer the first time in 1976.
This week, I am thankful for Mama’s presence and guidance, and most of all, for her love and support. I am thankful that she “gets” me, even though I am sometimes the “odd one out” in my family. She understands my introversion (my brother is the same. It’s my sister who is the extrovert!); she gets my need to create things. She knows who I am perhaps better than I know myself sometimes.
Mama is not exactly camera-shy, but she does not like us to take her picture unless she is ready for it, so I don’t have a candid to share from this weekend. But I do have one image that I love. The bottle bush at the end of the driveway is still blooming in November. There were maybe a half-dozen “brushes” still on the bush. And they were such a vibrant and deep red. (I wonder if they would grow this far inland. I know the oleander that grows around the house at Bennetts Point does not like the Midlands of South Carolina. Mama tried to grow one at her house in Peak.)
Beauty is all around us in all places and in all weather. It just takes us being wide awake to the world.
(I “messed” with the editing. The red is more muted in this image, and a little “bluer” than it was in real life, but art is about vision, and this is what I “see” in my head.)