deltamiss: (Reading Miss)
I've been reading a book of American short stories. The book is old, used and obviously read often. It has a cloth cover that is now dusty from sitting on an open shelf for years and years. There is a gold emblem of an eagle and flag on the front. I love the book.

Sometime around 1967 I discovered a jewel of a place in my hometown. From the looks of it, anyone passing by would never know what was hidden inside. L & A Furniture was a fixture downtown on Cotton Row Avenue. The local owners sold everything from iron skillets and wheelbarrows to new and used furniture.

I had been inside the store many times, but around '67 (maybe it was '66) I noticed a sectioned-off place I'd never seen before. Maybe they had moved things around or maybe they had just created the spot. Either way, I found a place I'd return to time and again for several years.

The store had at one time been a cotton warehouse so it was basically a huge open space with concrete floors and brick walls. I don't know why I went into the store that day, but there on the right was a library of sorts. Four or five tall bookshelves had been placed along one wall with two jutting out into the room on either end to form a sort of U shape. Inside that nook I found gold...books with gold embossed emblems on the covers and gold leaf edges, all old. The owners had branched out into estate sales that included books. I was in paradise.

None of the books cost more than seventy-five cents; most were a quarter; a few only a dime. Some were worthless, even to a bibliophile such as I. Over the next few years I managed to collect thirty or forty books, most with cloth bindings, the majority having to do with grammar, literature or drama. Most of the books in my collection were published between 1904 and 1939, but there are a couple from the 1950s.

Some days during college, I would spend my lunch hour in the store...sitting on the ratty oriental rug, reading. By that time I had more expenses than money and couldn't justify spending even a quarter for a new book. Still, somehow, I always managed to secure one or two before the semester ended. ;)

Eventually, I moved nearly 200 miles away from home, and L & A stopped buying books. Now there isn't even an L & A Furniture Store. But I can still visit it in my memories...and the yellowed pages of the books I found there.

deltamiss: (Photo Miss)
My father's mother died when I was barely into my senior year of high school. Mamaw was a wonder. She worked until she was nearly seventy as the head of the alteration department at a local department store and made the best coconut cake in the world.

Miss Carrie, as everyone - including her husband - called her, was an anomaly of sorts in her family. She divorced my grandfather during a time when divorce was considered a mortal sin; she worked in cotton fields all day and sewed for others all night (my dad says that the last sound he heard every night before going to sleep was the whir of the old pedal sewing machine); she wore make up (gasp); she was addicted to fabric; she raised her own vegetables and tended an orchard; she cooked huge meals for the whole family every Sunday yet never missed Sunday school or church for years; she scared a would-be burglar away by quietly telling him she had a shotgun pointed at him.

Other than the aroma of roses, the one thing that evokes memories of Mamaw is the sweet smell of honeysuckle. Honeysuckle wound itself over and around an old shed in the orchard, draped itself over the fences and captured the frame of a wide swing in the front yard. My cousin and I (and later her brother and mine) would sit in the swing and drink nectar from the blooms.

Today memories fill my mind as the aroma of the honeysuckle outside floods my house.

Photo of the day...

deltamiss: (Photo Miss)
I was born and reared in a section of Mississippi known as The Delta. It's not really a delta, though; it's an alluvial flood plain created by years and years of flooding by the Mississippi River. The land is flat and fertile and lies between the Father of Waters and the Yazoo River.

The Delta is home to Delta State University, my alma mater. The university's logo is, naturally, the symbol for the Greek letter delta, a triangle. The triangle or the word delta are ubiquitous back home, appearing in many business names, including Delta Airlines which has its roots in The Delta.

So, imagine our surprise when looking at this property on which we now reside, we found a Delta right in the back yard in the form of a small concrete fish pond. We've not done anything with it yet, but some day we will.

Photo of the day...a little reminder of our roots now covered in duck weed...

deltamiss: (Christmas Gift)
I received this in an email from a friend. I think it says just about everything.

A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, got together for a visit with their old university professor. The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite.

Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee.

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering.

"You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems."

He continued, "Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups... Then you began eyeing each other's cups.

"Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us. God brews the coffee, but he does not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!"

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have. So please remember: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

And remember - the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

Sometimes, and not because anyone makes me feel this way, but sometimes I'm a little embarrassed to post pictures of my apartment because it IS old and run down and needs a lot of work that I can't afford right now. But, then I look at the pots where the grands and I planted all those herbs and flowers and remember the joy we found in them every day...or the house that Melanie and Jeff have made into a home...or the animals that own us...or the business that Melanie has built from nothing...or my chime tree...or the notes from Peyton and Mabry on the decrepit refrigerator (that needs defrosting again), and I remember how I got where I am, who I am and how happy I am to be me right now.

My 'coffee cup' literally 'runneth' over!


deltamiss: (Default)

December 2011

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