Stories from my little corner of the world, the South. Some are from the present, some from the past...but all are from my heart.

They reflect my thoughts and views, my musing about the world, and each carries with it a bit of my heart
and soul.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Gathering of Clan

A Gathering of Clan

Can’t remember why we have it this time of year,
the heat is oppressive and saps all our energy
leaving us as lethargic
as the blue tick hounds under the porch.

Humidity hangs in the air
like the Spanish moss in surrounding trees,
and beads of sweat sit on our lips and brows
glistening in the sunlight like exotic jewels. 



Yellow flies nip mercilessly
at unprotected ankles and elbows
of those who forgot their Skin-So-Soft.
But we show up every June,
‘cause that’s how it’s always been done
 and that’s a good enough reason for most,
‘specially the old-timers.

Copiously covered tables sag in the middle like sway-back mules.
Most every Southern dish imaginable is here:
mounds of fried chicken lie on platters like sacrificial offerings,
baked hams and fried catfish taunt us to taste them,
cast iron pots full of fresh speckled-butter beans and crowder peas
reveal floating ham hocks begging to be gnawed.

There are kettles of creamed and boiled corn and bowls of potato salad galore.
The sweets tables sits off to the side:
a dieter’s nightmare of puddings, pies, and cobblers.
Oh, and the cakes: cakes with thin, griddle-cooked layers topped with freshly made jelly,
blackberry, blueberry, huckleberry and mayhaw dripping temptingly.
Chocolate cakes, eight to ten layers each, with home-made fudge icing,
Coconut cake with whipped meringue so light it threatens to float away.
Banana pudding made from scratch, no instant mixes here!
Iced cold tea, sweet and syrupy; lemonade, tart and tangy.

Relatives gather, congregating to swap gossip, photos, and recipes.
Bragging rights are hotly debated over children, dogs, and fishes caught.

Cousins reminisce about times when their only worries
were who could win the most marbles or swing the highest.
Older relatives remember when the road out front was still dirt,
or when old Unc Hank was still living...
Lordy, could he spin a tall tale!



New babies wriggle in unfamiliar arms,
their frowning faces pinched in protest,
as great-aunts and second cousins steal kisses
from their tempting rose petal cheeks.

Toddlers hold court like jesters,
for crowds of appreciative onlookers.
Older children divide up according to gender.
The boys play loud boisterous games of war
or push small cars and trucks in the sand.
Girls hopscotch and play jack stones
or inspect each other’s dolls.

Teenagers, bored to tears and wishing they were home,
feel like aliens on a strange planet,
and wonder if it’s possible they were adopted.

And so we congregate, a gathering of clan:
multiple generations assembled in one place
to honor their collective heritage,
to rekindle their bond of blood,
and their shared joys and sorrows.

We come to reunite and celebrate
the lineage that joins us together.
Generation after generation,
Year after year,
on this specific day,
to this special place:
an annual reunion of spirits and hearts,
who share the ties that bind,
the powerful bond of family.

Rose S. Williams
©Southernstoryteller~2003




Saturday, July 16, 2011

Water of Clay

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Forever (A prose poem with photos)

Summer Forever 

Every year Summer rides in on a sweaty steed, bringing with



him languid afternoons where heat shimmers off 


sidewalks and roadways like expelled dragon’s breath.
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d428/d777/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
The earth moves slothfully now, as do we all, slowed to a


snail’s pace by the oppressive heat.

And if on cue, June brings with it the Sum
mer Solstice and late


afternoon thunderstorms whose clouds gather like a


marauding army on the far horizon.
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They mass together, growing darker and more ominous as


they approach.

We shiver, even though we are sweating, the foreboding


thought of tornadoes never far from our minds.
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These looming storms possess unbridled power in the form of 


lightening strikes, bolts of fire and brimstone sent downward 


from the heavens in some reverse joke of the gods.

Humans, animals, fish and fowl all huddle under their flimsy 


cover of beam and glass,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d444/d777/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
bush and tree,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d314/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
grass and leaf,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d324/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
nest and shell
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d316/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
cowering as the white hot bolts fly and the thunder drums roll.

We listen to the words the heavens sing in a chorus of


thunderous voices and pray for rain. 

Rain comes softly first,
smattering,
splattering,
pattering
on the rooftops and treetops as we scurry out of its reach.

Long denied plants and trees stretch outwards and upwards 


eagerly catching the gift from the heavens.
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d327/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
The parched soil drinks in the rainfall, thirstily drawing the 


moisture down into itself and filtering it outwards
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d446/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
to the tangled maze of roots from trees, grasses and flowers.

The storms subsides after a while, spent from its exertion, and


the rain slows to a drizzle. Afterwards, we emerge from our


nooks and crannies, taking in this wondrous newly washed 


world,
we walk along the streams and riverbanks,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d193/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
or stroll along the wet, sandy beaches
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d322/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
as we drink in the sparkling air, freshly washed like laundry 


and hung out for us to enjoy. For now, the storm has passed 


and Summer has begun.

And so, we’ll float along in the summer swirl of heat and rain…

rinse and repeat,

rinse and repeat from June until August,

wilting in the sizzling sun,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d446/d777/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
baking in the blistering rays.

Day in and out, each one starting in a glorious sunrise of gold
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d184/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
and ending in an equally breathtaking sunset of orange and


crimson.

http://media-files.gather.com/images/d675/d782/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
As ice caps melt and ocean waters rise we are heading toward


a perpetual summer,

http://media-files.gather.com/images/d180/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
a planet where we will swelter all year long rather than a 


seasonal searing.

We will eventually forget the other seasons; fall, winter, spring


will become long lost tales of wonder and enchantment as


summer reigns supreme and everlasting.

Rose S. Williams
©Southernstoryteller~2007