I’ve had several people tell me that I should write a book. Whenever someone tells me that, I find myself thankful and humble that anyone would even think that I was capable of such. Usually, these kinds of comments come from someone who has been reading my blogs, friends and relatives mostly. I must make a confession, I really don’t think I have the discipline to sit for hours on end, concentrating on the details necessary to compile a tome of four hundred pages or more. I suffer from OAADD (Old Age Attention Deficit Disorder). It may not be an officially diagnosed condition, but it’s real for me.
Instead of writing a book, I’ve decided to try my hand at remembering and blogging some events that occurred during my seventy years of living on this little blue rock. I’m not sure where this is going, what I will talk about, or how long it will last. I’ve made no attempts to speak with any of the old folks in my family, who were around at the time of any of these events. Most of the generation before me is gone, so I suppose I would be considered old folks now. It’s just my memory and me, giving it our best. Given the fact that I have one of the worst memories on the planet, here goes:
It’s some time before I was old enough to attend elementary school, and I smell the distinct scent of cinnamon. This scent always paints an olfactory image whenever I think of this time. I find myself back somewhere in my fraternal grandmother’s kitchen. The scent is strong as if I’m there right now whiffing every savory scent. I can’t remember anything else about Grandma Katherine’s kitchen except the smell of cinnamon. Was she a good cook? I have no idea. I also remember the old photos of people she had hanging on the walls; you know the kind that had those haunting eyes that followed you wherever you went in the room. There was also a grandfather clock that chimed on the hour. Her house was dark and from what I can remember everything was faded shades of brown, gray and burgundy. Wait, it’s coming back to me, there was a red-checkered tablecloth in the kitchen.
We lived on a gravel road about a quarter mile north of State Highway 64 in Cross County. The county seat was and still is Wynne, Arkansas. I don’t remember a lot about that time, except what my mother told me years after, during my early childhood. Grandma Katherine and her husband Ulysses, my grandpa, lived walking distance from us, across a field and just off the highway. I do remember walking that distance, which didn’t seem that far away. Of course, I was but a toddler then, so did I walk or was I carried? Grandpa Ulysses and Grandma Katherine were well into their seventies when I was born.
I’ve been told by many folks that you must talk to your older relatives about your family before they die. Being born into a family where oral history was the primary method of passing details down from one generation to the next, I realize the truth in that now, especially when the smell of cinnamon is the only thing I can remember about my fraternal grandparents. They must have had some powerful stories to tell. These folks were born within twenty years of the end of slavery.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.