Friday, August 02, 2002


Well, it’s Friday. I am very, very, excited because my brother is coming into town for the weekend for a wedding and I get to spend Friday night with him! I miss my family terribly. My parents and grandmother are about a 13-hour drive away and my brother is about 7 hours away. Needless to say, I don’t get to see him very often. My Mother just retired from teaching school and I am hoping she will be able to come for a visit in the fall. The last time I was home was for my grandfather’s funeral. Pappa passed away the second week in January.

Officially he was my step-grandfather but he was really the only one I ever knew. My Father’s father passed away before he and my Mother met. My Mother’s parents were divorced and her father, Grandpa, died when I was 6, shortly after my brother was born. I have a few fond memories of being with him. He let me sit on the front-porch swing and pull out my paints and paint brushes and decorate all the acorns I found in the yard. Most of my grandfatherly memories revolve around Pappa though. He was one of those men who simply became more handsome with age. He was so distinguished looking with his snow-white hair and sparkling dark brown eyes.

He and Mema were members of their local country club and when I would stay with them in the summertime she would take me to the pool and Pappa would pick me up after he finished playing golf. I was probably no more than 9 or 10 and had discovered that I could meander up to the snack bar and order whatever I wanted and just say “charge it.” With my newfound freedom, and my love of sugar, I must have eaten like three or four fudge bars that day. I desperately wanted the other kids at the pool to like me so I decided to be generous, and I “charged” Eskimo pies for everyone. We all sat on the side of the pool in the blazing hot sun, eating the chocolate coating off first and licking the sticky, sweet cream as it ran down our fingers and onto our laps all the while listening to Steve Miller’s Abracadabra. Pappa picked me up later that day and about fell over when he saw the bill from the snack bar—but he didn’t get mad. He just wrapped me in a big fluffy terrycloth towel and when we got into his car and I begged to drive by the “dirty ole’ Fulmer’s house.” These people were who Jeff Foxworthy was writing about when he wrote “You might be a redneck if…..”

The “Dirty Ole Fulmers” were the scourge of the little town of 10,000 where my Mema and Pappa lived. They never mowed their grass, watered their lawn, spayed or neutered any animal they had—thus their numbers multiplied. In the front yard you could always find the following: a car up on concrete blocks missing several components necessary to drive, a couple of flamingos, lovely and pink, some type of appliance be it a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or stove. I was always fascinated by their odd behavior. If I were really lucky Mr. Fulmer would be outside puttering around and scratching his head as if wondering how all this got into his yard. He would be in raggedy shorts with the boxers hanging out of the bottom, black socks and tennis shoes, and an old, stained, sleeveless undershirt. In my estimation the Fulmers were better than anything on TV.

Pappa would then drive home down the long driveway where I would hop out of the car and proceed to try and do a balancing act on the skinny railroad ties that made up the parking stop. I then followed him down to his rather delightful garden—and being the inquisitive child that I was would ask him question, after question, after question about potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, chili peppers, and et cetera. Eventually we left with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes in hand and walked back up to the house where Mema would then slice them up and serve them with dinner. I can still taste their garden freshness. Those were happy times.

Ah, family.

Well, it is nearing five o’clock and I am going to shut down for the day and go pick up my brother. I can’t wait to make another memory.


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