This morning, the backyard smelled like the mountains.The damp air, wet grass from last evenings brief rain, and the trees in the woods behind our yard, together, concocted the familiar scent of the Smokys.
While Winston did his business, I stood on the patio, inhaling that bouquet of memories I have of taking our kids to the Smokys nearly every year, when they were little.
The senses are remarkable reminders of memories. I can smell the Smokys as I can smell Crosley Field, from when I was young and tagged along to the Redleg’s games with my dad.
There is that feel of innocence and sweetness int a baby’s whipped cream skin.
Yep, I can also recall the expensive smell of young babies poops, that leaked through diapers and onto me.
I can’t smell asparagus without thinking of my dad, sitting at the kitchen table, in his chair that had wheels so that he could roll to the refrigerator or to the sink or panty. He’d be wearing an apron that my oldest sister made for him, dredging his long asparagus spears thru the heaping pile of Kraft mayonnaise that was on his plate for nearly every green vegetable.
This isn’t where this story intended to go. It went there of its own accord, and I will drag it back to where it was supposed to go.
Nick rose early and came out when Winston and I were outside. I had the crummy number “2005” in my head. After I got up, I grabbed my phone to see if the world was still here.
Sometimes, it is sin’t. It is merely a remnant of what it used to be.
My son posted a link to an article about the 2005 shootings that have taken place in Chicago so far this year.
2005. I Chicago. In the United States of America.
I fear that the word, “United” might need to be removed as there doesn’t seem to be much that unites us, anymore.
Di you realize that our flags are almost always at half staff?
A constant mourning is taking place.
No resolutions. Little hope. Less leadership. But lots of finger-pointing.
Oh crud. This isn’t what this story was supposed to be about, either.
When Nick came outside, we brought two chairs out because it was pleasant. The day’s air hadn’t been heated up in the earth’s cauldron, yet.
A drive. That is what we would do. We would go and enjoy the morning in Clover.
Now, this story is getting somewhere.
The two-lane road to Clover wasn’t busy so we looked left and right, after we got “The Boy” to quit panting in Nick’s ear.
To say a land is beautiful doesn’t actually describe what we saw.
The green fields that give way to tree-lines, roll past our windows. There is something quiet and earthy about this land. It doesn’t have pretense or the majesty of the ocean or the mountains. It has a grace that is more subtle. It makes me wistful in a nice way. I know the land is owned, but it doesn’t seem “owned,” as in being someone’s precious personal property. It is just the land. It is the South.
Clover was quiet. O, Victoria’s Diner, that had been closed this week for the holiday, was open and serving breakfast. Nick wished we had left Winston at home so we could have stopped and gotten some biscuits and gravy.
Nick asked which way to turn at the one traffic light in downtown Clover, and I said, “left.”
James Taylor’s shop was still buttoned up, nothing of interest on the sidewalks, trying to entice passersby.
Nothing was open, except Victoria’s.
So we drove down the Main Street. The golden sun that had just cup up, caught a few of the old buildings in a nice way, so I had Nick stop so that I could get a few pictures with my phone.
One picture led to another and soon, we were riding down the old streets in Clover that have been here long before we were and will be her long after we are gone.
Not every house in Clover or the South is “Gone With the Wind,” beautiful.
We have ramshackle. We have sad house. There are houses that make you think the people have no hope, but that is an assumption that divides us. Who knows what goes on behind the closed doors of the rich or the poor, of the black or the white or Hispanic or Italian … the educated or non-educated. Who knows if the houses of those who profess their faith, are any more loving, than those who simply can’t believe?
We drove by all sorts of houses … homes.
Which houses had “good” people living in them and which ones had, “bad?” What kind of thoughts are behind those closed doors?
We see what happens on our streets, but what is going on in the homes, and in our hearts?
Are we stuck in our beliefs and in a culture that doesn’t exist anymore? Have we been malleable with our thoughts or stuck in ruts of judgment?
American flags hung outside many of the houses we passed. Grills were in the prissy yards and the yards overgrown with Southern vegetation.
You know, people in each of those houses, the grand houses, the stately houses, the trailers and the worn and weary houses, will all do the same thing one day, and that is die.
The rich, the greedy, the powerful, with all of their might and money, will face the same thing as the rest of us.
I don’t think God is going to care whether you lived in the White House or the Poor House. I think He will look behind the doors of those houses and into the hearts of the people who lived there. He is going to look in my heart. He is going to look into your heart.
What will He see?
When all is said and done, the trappings of our houses are not going to make a difference in our destiny.
But what is in our heartThis morning, will.
Copyright 2016 Susan Hipkins DeBow. All Rights Reserved.