Sunday, February 22, 2009

Monday Mimisms ~ Katy Never Was A Jackass To Me





Do you see that window to the left?
Katy lived there.


I grew up on a large family tract of land divided between siblings, uncles and aunts, grandparents, tobacco fields, barns....and well...even jackasses. When I looked out the living room picture window of my childhood home, this is what I saw: My great-uncle and aunt's home across the road (it was a road, not a street, trust me) a myriad of barns and tool sheds, large oak trees, persimmons, weeping willows, pecans and pines. A pump house, a cellar door straight out of the Wizard of Oz, a pack house, a meat-hanging building for hams and an assortment of tractor sheds. They were farmers after all. Behind their modest brick house was a large cornfield, to the left across the dirt road more tobacco fields, several 2-story tobacco barns, an outhouse (yes, I said an outhouse complete with Red Devil lye) and fences. Next door lived my great-grandmother and great-aunt and uncle.
Next door to them lived my dad's younger brother's family. Across the road from them lived his older brother, my aunt and two first cousins. Directly through the woods and across the field behind their house was the "old homeplace" of said great-grandmother, the fishing pond, more tobacco fields, a huge watermelon patch, a bean field, potato field (I so hated that part) and a long 2 mile long white-sanded driveway with pine trees on each side where I loved to ride my bike.

You might say I grew up in the country. I was literally surrounded by four generations of family.

And then there was Katy.
A splash of buttercup color on an otherwise dusty potato field life she was.

Katy and I had a love/hate relationship. I wanted to pet her all the time but doing so was NOT in my best interest. I never could figure out why my uncle had her in the first place. Yeah
sure....he used her to plow the garden a few times but really.... most of the time she just stuck her head out the little window and grazed on corn.
That is, unless she was talking to me.
Don't tell. But I fed her flowers.

Time and again I woul
d sneak behind the house, approach the little stable and try to coax her out, only to hear "MIMI! If I've told you once I've told you a hundred times NOT to touch that mule. Get awaaayyy from the fence!"
Uncle Henry had no patience with me (he would not be the last man to admit to such) especially after my too-big-for-my-pencil-britches-self put the tractor gear in reverse and ran over his foot once upon a terrible time. One sunny day, Katy and I had too close of a munchy smooch and I lunged into the electric fence.

Ouch.
Katy was not amused. Neither was I.
I screamed. She turned around and went back inside.
Of course, she knew I'd be back.

That was many years ago. So, today, when I visited my parents, I decided to have one last chat with Katy..... Oh I know she's not there. Is she?


You see, there was a strange wind blowing around the farm today. I didn't alter these photos. Do you see the swirling white wisp of a cloud in Katy's home? If I didn't know better, I'd think it was my favorite mule. And with good reason.

Yesterday, the firemen came and burned down my uncle and aunt's home in the middle of my 33 acre playground. They've long been gone and the property must sell. They call it progress. I call it hogwash.

And it made me terribly sad.
Nothing will ever really be the same.
The house is gone.

A house where I played endless hours of Sorry with my aunt and cousins, Pick Up Stix and Monopoly. Rook. Go Fish. Ate her wonderful cornbread and yummy cakes, drank iced tea and lemonade on the back porch each summer, got off the schoolbus in her driveway......played the antique organ when she'd let me. It was untouchable, like Katy, and although I knew she was peculiar, my aunt, I loved the order in her home, the smells, the sparkling cleanness, the flower bouquets.


Behind Aunt Evelyn's white picket fence was my favorite place to play. It was beautifully white and pristine. I imagined myself there today as I snapped this photo. Purple crocus popping up underneath it in the spring. Daffodils (I picked the remaining ones today) and amazingly tall gladiolas of every color that she carefully chose for church altar arrangements on Sunday mornings.And Uncle Henry smelling of tobacco cure in the crisp fall air. It was a wonderful smell. He even took me with him to market one year. But nothing was right in the backyard today. I couldn't make it so. Everywhere I turned there was spooky silent smoke. And the pecan trees were weeping..... See how sad they look?



But I had to show you.

To prove to you - and to myself - that they all still exist.

Peculiar Aunt Evelyn who made you take a bath before you got in her clean bathtub, overbearing Uncle Henry's off-limits-to-children tool shed door still stands open. I think I see him watching out the window making sure I'm not leaning on that.....that......
ouch!

Katy.










She like
d daffodils.


























Digg!

Copyright © 2006-2009 Mimi Lenox. All Rights Reserved.

32 comments:

Melody Sez said...

I am pretty sure I would of liked Katy! A girl who likes daffodils, I could hang with! I bet she would of liked pink! I would of taken her to town and got her hooves painted pink and my nails painted pink too!

This is a lovely post with lovely sentiment and photos to match it all! Thank you for sharing!

Melody!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Hi, I'm Debbie. I'm over from Tammy's blog. What wonderful memories and so well written. I felt like I was there through your photos.

Black Cat said...

This brought a tear to my eye. Our happy memories are so precious and when their settings change, well, it's not always progress. I think Katy and your relatives gathered to greet you and to say, "Things may have changed, but we are still here and we love you". I think they are proud of you too! :) xxx

Charles Gramlich said...

I loved the country growing up, and am so glad to be back in it. I wish it was a little more rural here.

Great pics. I bet Katy would have liked you if you'd fed her those daffodils.

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

What a melancholy feeling I have now... I could feel the memories in your photos and your words. It's so sad when everything changes....

bundleocontradictions said...

Wow. Yet another fascinating trip with you. Thank you for that. ((hugs))

The Gal Herself said...

What an evocative post! Thanks for taking me out of my day-to-day for a moment and transporting me over to Katy. It was a lovely rip.

BTW -- My oldest friend has a peculiar Aunt Evelyn, too. Do you think it's something in the name?

Ferd said...

What a wonderful glimpse into your childhood past!
Thank you for sharing that, Mimi. It is really nice to know where people come from. It says so much about a person. Yours was just the right place to nurture a young Queen!

meleah rebeccah said...

you tell the most fantastically descriptive stories.

AngelBaby said...

Wow, what a wonderful story. My children grew up on the ranch my late husbands family still owns. It was a wonderful life so different from the city. Thanks for sharing this it was delightful.

I have something for you at my site so come by and see.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Mimi Lenox said...

Melody - I'm sure she would have liked you as well. Pink hooves? Hmm.....you'd have to get REAL close to that good ole' electric fence, my dear.

Mimi Lenox said...

Cheffie - Welcome. Tammy was very sweet to post about BlogBlast and feature me on her site today. Thanks for the visit. I will definitely check out your blog.

I had a blast taking the pictures...although it was very cold and windy outside.

Mimi Lenox said...

Black Cat - Thank you. I did have the eeriest feeling. And looking at those photographs....with the wispy white cloudy things in the buildngs...spooky.

And warm.

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - I waited and waited yesterday but never showed up......

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - It is sad and it has upset my dad. He has to look at it from his front window! Argh.

Mimi Lenox said...

Autumn - Glad you enjoyed. I'll take you along anytime....

Mimi Lenox said...

Gal - Perhaps...she was sweet and all kinds of proper.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - I didn't appreciate the type of environment that surrounded me then....and while it wasn't always happy.....I am still thankful that I grew up with space and an appreciation for hard work and family.

Mimi Lenox said...

Meleah - Why, thank you my dear. And how is your book coming along?

Mimi Lenox said...

Angel - I shall be over in a jiffy! Thank you. It was a unique way to grow up. I would love to have some of those fresh vegetables from the garden now. My parents still grow tomatoes and have a small watermelon garden with a few squash. They share....

BlackenedBoy said...

It must have been something to be so close to all of your family. I think that I am happier living very far away from my relatives, but yours sounds like the kind of childhood that gives a novel its spark and puts life in old stories.

I'm sorry about your aunt and uncle's house.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I just love the way you incorporate photos with your writing Mimi. This was really special.
There are certain places that bring memories forward in time. I go by houses that I had spent holidays, birthdays, and gathering with family quite often. Somewhat like opening a photo album in my mind.
My past has a strange twist, because the farm my mother grew up on is now a hotel / conference center / park. My brother was married there!

Lucy said...

tagged u meeem for a meme!

Sueblimely said...

I feel sad by the loss of the house and the times it represented. It seems to sum up how "progress" and urbanization also splits up extended families and the support systems it provided. Sigh

I loved the way you described your childhood and your special friendship with Katy - lovely.

Kitten said...

My grandmother died almost four years ago. She had lived in the same house where my dad and uncle grew up. The house was sold to my cousin, who then had to tear it down because it no longer met fire code. My dad and I drove by the lot a year ago. It was the first time I saw my dad cry...

Mimi Lenox said...

Blackened Boy- Thank you. I need to put my stories in book form.

Mimi Lenox said...

Eric - Wow. What a story. A hotel? Really?
I find myself wanting to go back inside those places I spent my childhood years in.....when that's not possible, it's sad.

Mimi Lenox said...

Lucy - Yay! I need a meme...

Mimi Lenox said...

Sue - Progress smogress.....I will miss it. My dad will miss it. It's not the same.
Thank you.

Mimi Lenox said...

Kitten - I totally understand. This is the second of the homes to be torn down in the past six months.
I feel as though my childhood is disappearing before my eyes.

Desert Songbird said...

You have THE BEST childhood memories.

Mimi Lenox said...

Songbird - The older I get the more I realize just how much life was packed into it.

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