April 19, 2011
Photo by Vicki Harris
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One night I was doing an appearance in a town where this column runs. A woman waited in line to speak to me and brought a clipping of that week's column for me to sign.
Just when I thought I knew most of what there was to know, or at least that which was mostly worth knowing, about what is alluring to men about women, I uncovered a stunning new truth.
There wasn't very much of me back then. I was a tiny girl, just big enough to reach up and grab hold of the wooden counter top in that old country store and lift my chin enough to allow my eyes to peer up in quiet fascination at the man who rang up the items that Mama had laid down.
I wondered the other day how a mother could even think that, let alone say it. But then Mama was a woman who defied exact definition. She was strong, smart, courageous, sometimes outrageous and, above all, ruled by a faith that was simply unbendable and unquestionable. That part of her was definable and clear: She believed unyieldingly in an Almighty God who never left her side. Even when it could have seemed that He did.
I'm Dixie Dew. If you read my mama's column weekly then you know that I'm the precious little red-haired dachshund of which she so affectionately writes every week. For the record, and not because I'm a bragger, but I am every bit as cute as she says. If anything, she downplays my cuteness.
It all started at the funeral home. A few other of my misadventures have begun there, too.
A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with a friend who lives in Las Vegas. Suddenly, out of the blue, he asked, "Is Easter this Sunday?""No," I replied. "Easter is one month from this Sunday."
My brother-in-law, Rodney, is a farmer of the most admirable kind. He farms, despite the heartbreaks, hard times, hot sun and little pay, because he loves it. Not even the relentless stronghold of healthy kudzu could choke the passion for farming from him. He is devoted to the land and what it brings. Good or bad.
A syndicated columnist is scheduled to speak Tuesday at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Southerners tend to be practical folks, at least those of us raised in rural areas that have seen their share of hard times.
Any Southern woman worth her weight in Martha White flour has at least one drawer or cook book in her kitchen stuffed with recipes she has torn out of magazines or newspapers, fully intending to try each and every one of them.
Since I once called the garage area of the NASCAR Cup Series "home", working in the sport for several years as one of few women among hundreds of men, folks often ask my opinion on today's NASCAR.
Mama wasn't sentimental. In fact, I never knew of anyone who grew up in the Southern mountains during the Depression who was sentimental.
One night back in the summer, Louise, Rodney and I stopped to see Russell and Neva, whom we have all known in one way or the other for decades. Yet, we go ages without seeing each other. It's a crying shame, as Mama would say.
When Robert, a devout reader of this column who also happens to be an accomplished researcher in matter of family lineage, offered to trace my family roots, I accepted faster than kudzu can grow on a hot summer's day.
In digging through the material remains of what I consider to be my heart's one and only home, I have smiled repeatedly, even chuckled out loud on occasion, at Mama's thriftiness.