Properly, this memory should not be posted until a more appropriate date. It's several months until 1/16/10, but if I wait that long, I may have forgotten. Memories rely on memory.
A DAY FILLED WITH BEAUTY
TODAY WAS CELEBRATED AS MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY. AS I WAS DRIVING TO
WORK, MY FAVORITE RADIO STATION WAS PLAYING A RECITAL BY A TEENAGE
CHORAL GROUP OF THE “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH. I WAS OBLIGATED TO SPEND A
FEW MINUTES SITTING IN MY CAR IN THE BELCO PARKING LOT WHILE THEY
FINISHED THIS BEAUTIFUL WORK OF ART.
I AM PROBABLY, AT THE VERY LEAST, ONE OF A VERY FEW PEOPLE AT BELCO WHO
HAVE ADULT MEMORIES OF THE DAYS BEFORE DR. KING, AND IT SADDENS ME EVEN
WHILE GIVING ME A SOMEWHAT HOSTILE FEELING TO HEAR ANYONE MAKING FUN
OF OR BELITTLING THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THIS GREAT AMERICAN.
WHILE DRIVING HOME, I WAS TREATED, ON THE SAME RADIO STATION, TO AN
INTERVIEW WITH BETTY CLAIBORNE, A BLACK LADY WHO, AFTER FORTY TWO YEARS,
WAS PARDONED TODAY BY KATHLEEN BLANCO, THE NEW GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA.
MS. CLAIBORNE WAS APPREHENDED AND CONVICTED IN BATON ROUGE IN 1963, AT
THE AGE OF 20, AFTER ATTEMPTING TO ENTER A PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL.
ARRIVING HOME, I WAS HANDED A CAN OF ”CAMPBELL’S CHUNKY GRILLED SIRLOIN
STEAK WITH HEARTY VEGETABLES” SOUP. MY WIFE HAD TO ATTEND A MEETING,
AND I WAS ON MY OWN FOR DINNER. I HAVE HAD THIS SOUP BEFORE, AND,
ALTHOUGH MORE COSTLY THAN I THINK SOUP SHOULD BE, IT’S JUST ABOUT MY
FAVORITE. SOMEHOW CAMPBELL HAS BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE A SOUP THAT TASTES
AS IF IT WERE SLOW COOKED ON A COLEMAN STOVE AT AUNT LIZZIE’S. A VERY
NOSTALGIC FLAVOR. MY GRANDMOTHER HAD ELECTRIC LIGHTS WHEN I WAS A TOT,
ALTHOUGH SHE COOKED ON A WOOD STOVE AND DREW WATER FROM A HAND-DUG
WELL. HER SISTER° HAD THE SAME, EXCEPT WITHOUT THE ELECTRICITY. KEROSENE
LANTERNS, WITH THEIR ACCOMPANYING AROMA, LIT AUNT LIZZIE’S HOUSE.
I WAS ABLE TO FINISH THE DAY WITH “THE BLUES BROTHERS” ON AMC, AND THEN
TO READ A CHAPTER FROM “COLD MOUNTAIN”. ON THE WHOLE, A TRULY
WONDERFUL, SENSUALLY PLEASING DAY!!!!! ALTHOUGH I FREQUENTLY WALLOW IN
NOSTALGIA, I’D STILL NEVER LONG FOR THE DAYS BEFORE MLK.
I grew up thinking that Aunt Lizzy was Granny's sister, because when I was little, I thought they looked alike. In truth, if you study old photographs, you'll easily see that, in the early days of my youth, everyone looked alike. From the generation before my parents, it was often hard even to distinguish the men from their women, except for the way they dressed.
Living with Aunt Lizzy was Uncle Tom Allen. But Granny's maiden name was Allen! In all the years, I never asked my mother the question I should have. My mother only confirmed that Aunt Lizzy's husband was her Uncle Tom Allen.
It was only after my mother was deceased, and after I originally wrote this memory, that it occurred to me that Uncle Tom was Granny's brother, and Aunt Lizzy was Granny's sister-in-law! Such a simple answer to a puzzle that had hounded me all my life!