PHOTO: This picture hangs in my
mothers' den. It's my brother and me in 1955.
THE LULU CHRONICLES
Sorry, I’m so late in getting this out. Gary and I are in Memphis visiting my folks and it’s hard to write when you can actually see your body parts melting before your very eyes. It’s 104 degrees here, folks! Sweat has taken on a new meaning for me. Don’t think a little perspiration under the armpits and a dainty few beads above the lip. No sir. Think pools and pools and pools of sopping body-oozing fluids leaking from every pore of your being. Then, think of the added discomfort of humidity- the kind of humidity that makes your arm hairs frizz, and where the air is so thick you could plop it on a stick and lick it like a Fudgesicle. I’m in the Deep South and my blood has had 34 years of living in the North. It has thickened up like 10W-30 motor oil. Believe me, I’m not at my prettiest here.
I’m missing LuLu. I wanted to bring her with me. I imagined myself riding through the shaded lanes of Magnolia trees around my parent’s home. I saw myself, with Murphy in my basket, tooling through the dogwoods and crepe myrtles humming ‘Dixie’ like a local yokel. But the truth is, at 104 degrees, I would have stroked out at the first corner. So, it’s just as well that she’s sitting in my garage in Wisconsin relaxing as only Schwinns can do and awaiting my return.
I’m a Southern girl, born and bred, but I’ve lived in the North now, more years than I lived in the South. However, the minute I cross the Mason/Dixon line, my ‘ya’lls’ displace my ‘you guys’ and I start slanging twang better than Scarlett O’Hara.
I’m home. I walk into my parent’s house and am embraced by all that helped make me who I am. No matter how long I’ve been gone, I come back to find my fingerprints everywhere. It’s where I’ve always been loved unconditionally. It’s the place where my hopes and dreams where ingested into my blood stream along with butter beans and pot pie. My people are here; at least some of them are still with us. But, the aunts and uncles who have passed on are here too. Their pictures are hanging in the hallway and den. My Aunt Ozella’s watercolor still-life of orchids is hanging over my mother’s couch. My Aunt Sis’s clock is still not working but is still hanging on the entryway wall. My grandmother’s red chair sits at the foot of my parent’s bed where it has the last twenty years.
I’m home. People here fuss with me; yet, I know they’d die for me if they had to. They don’t let me get away with nothing, but let someone say something negative about me outside this family and talk about a Queen Bee on attack! My mother would make an over protective mother grizzly look like a weenie dog if she heard you say the jeans I have on right now make my cowgirl look fat.
Yep, I’m missing LuLu and our morning rides. But, I’ll be home soon… my other home. But for the rest of this week, I think I’ll just enjoy the God-made sauna called Memphis and the limitless glasses of sweet tea… and my mama.