Saturday, June 11, 2011

Now I Know, There's No Place Like Home

When I was a teen I couldn't wait to grow up & leave Alabama; mainly the small town I had been born & raised in. Mother would just give me a look that I didn't quite grasp the meaning of until I was much older. Now I know!

Until you appreciate yourself, your uniqueness, how can you expect others to? And until you're around others that are different from you, how can you tell your differences?

I mentioned in the previous post about our first quilt guild meet this month & how about 10 of us ladies had gone to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. We had a great meet & a great lunch, but it was the company, companionship that we shared that made it so special.

Most of our group is locals; folks that have always called this home even if they have lived out of state for periods in their lives. But every once in awhile we get a transplant. Right now we have two that I can think of right off.

Betty is a transplant from Vermont. A super sweet person, but not at all loud & boisterous like most of the rest of us. She does have grown children & I just know those kids were never hollered at when they were little. Betty is so soft spoken that when she does speak, by the time everybody gets thru saying, "Ssssh, Betty's talking", she's halfway done.

Our other transplant is Marcie. She came to us from California via Minnesota. Now that's a combination! But I don't think she was quite ready for Alabama.

At meet the other day, she needed to know if southerns had a problem giving directions. She had called another member, Judy, about meeting a small group at another members house. Marcie's telling us this story. Judy tells her to leave her house & head to 280 (main highway), cross 280 & go to first red light & turn. Marcie says ok, sounds simple enough.

Said she crosses 280 & she starts immediately looking for the red light. In California, there's one on every corner. She keeps driving, no red light. She keeps driving, no red light. She keeps driving, no red light.

Fifteen miles later, there's the red light. She wants to know is this the way people around here give directions. She asks, "Is this a southern thing?" And we're all like yeah that's right. And Judy's like, " well you found us!"

So when we take off to lunch together, the conversations continue in about the same manner. Marcie is so funny at pointing out the uniqueness of Alabamians. Course it's not a one sided observation. She has us rolling in the floor doing her Minnesota accents & phrases, but that's a gotta be there & hear it thing.

At one point something came up about not cooking, husbands & do you think I have a boyfriend. At that moment, the crowded restaurant went silent. People love to hear other folks juicy stuff. Thought maybe any minute we were gonna be asked to leave, but not! That would have cost them about $100 if we all got up & left.

Then one of our southern girls, Susan, came over with an observation to add. She was an English teacher at one time in Louisiana. Started talking about the southern word y'all. You should hear Marcie say that! Another roll of laughter. You'd think we were all having drinks other than sweet tea. Or maybe the sweet tea was the problem; all hyped up on sugar.

Anyway Susan said she had figured out that y'all being a contraction for you all was the only word where there could correctly be two apostrophes in a word. Example: Get y'all's quilts & bring them with you. The first apostrophe is the contraction & the second apostrophe shows possession.

Course we all agreed this rule should be added to the American English language. Told them I had always thought y'all should be just one word yall, but since this new rule would be so unique, I give.

So thinking about my mother's look she always gave me when I started the leave Alabama routine; she knew one day I'd find out for myself. There's no place like home!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

History & A Lesson Learned

No matter how unimportant, minuscule, mundane, insert your own adjective you think your life is, you have lasting impact on others without even trying.

Even if you try to hermitize your life, like I have at times, you still impact others by the lack of your presence & input whether positive or negative. As I look back on my life, I can see that even the ugliest, hurtful times have helped make me a better person & if not better, the person I am.

I get some of my best ideas for this blog while chatting with friends on Pat Sloan's forum. I'm sure they must think I talk too much, but no one has told me to shut up yet, & I do TRY self control & somewhat limit myself.

I was relaying to them my happenings on Tuesday which is my quilt guild 1st meet day of the month. We always have such a super time, but Tuesday was exceptional. We had a great meeting then afterwards, a group of about 10 of us went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. Now THAT lunch is a whole nother story.

After I left them, I went to Walmart to get a few things. It was so hot & walking over that big store didn't help. I was so hot & sweaty all I wanted to do was go home & shower. I was almost done when I heard someone call my name.

It was Mary. I had seen her briefly about a year ago at same Walmart, of course. We had gone to high school together 40+ years ago & had become friends. That in itself is not the story.

The story is that was the time of the 60's in the south, in Alabama in particular, around the time that George Wallace was/had been governor & the schools were just beginning integration. Mary was one of two black kids that were put in the white school. Don't know if it was voluntary, forced, paid or what; don't remember us ever discussing the how/why she was there.

If the situation had been reversed & I had had to go to the black school, there's no way I would have done it. Not just because it was the black school, but because it was different. I was shy back then, but more than that I was selective. It meant something special for me to talk to anyone or be friends so mostly I kept my mouth shut.

This meeting with Mary, she brought up all these memories, she wanted to talk about it & what it meant to her to have a friend. She said something bout how she had seen that I never talked to anyone, but I talked to her & she couldn't believe it. I don't remember all that, but apparently she does.

Each one of us live in a part of what will become history. Each one of us make the history around us. I do believe God always guides our lives, whether we are willing to follow or not. I don't mean predestination, I mean He cares for us & He makes a way, a path, for us to follow. Sometimes it takes years for us to find that path, sometimes we may feel as though we never find it & sometimes it just pops up at Walmart & you look back & see at least once you were on it.

It would have been normal for me to treat her the way I guess she expected to be treated in that time & circumstance. I was brought up just like everyone else, with normal being a division, a prejudice towards blacks. And then they were called many other names besides blacks or African Americans. Coloreds was a common name.

I still have much of that prejudice instilled in me. Although I believe we are born into the evil of this world, I also believe love & hate are learned & although we all possess the traits of good & evil, it's what we choose to let rule our life that makes us.

As a quilter, color is an important factor in what I do. Even shades of one color can be very striking or bland depending on how they are used. If you think about it there is color everywhere. It's one of those gifts from God that make the world beautiful. And we as people are all colored, all different shades of color.

I thought Mary was gonna cry talking about this. She reached for me for a hug. Told her I was hot & sweaty, but she didn't care. If she had started crying, my heart would have melted. Then I couldn't be the tough broad life has made me. I would have cried too.

So in parting I told her, "I guess we just needed each other." So that's the history lesson here. We do all need each other. Each of us has a part to play in someones life. We chose whether for good or evil, love or hate.