Thursday, August 27, 2009


chicken bone on the pavement
sky so blue
my grief, my behavement
I cry for you



Downy feathers float on shallow ripples up in to the head of the cove. A blue heron glides low into the bend. Back to school. A school of small fish linger by the dock waiting for their lesson or a bite.

Summer is fading. Dry heat. Beating sun. Soon the blue of the sky will change. After Labor Day. That baby will be here by week's end and holding in his grandmamma's arms.

This week ended Stella. This summer lolled along in melancholy like the summer we watched our Daddy dying. Nothing to do but wait and care. Care about so much time passed and whether you did enough. Loving and caring was the best we could do.

Stella loved being at Claude's Cove for thirteen years. Having her babies here. Running through the laurel thickets with Inez and swimming cross the cove. Laying in a pile of leaves all camouflage in her brindled prowess. Thanksgiving. Her spirit floats through like the downy feathers on the ripples of the waters at Claude's Cove.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Recently my Uncle John recounted a memory of taking his daughter and me to the local State Fair when we were very very young. I imagine it was my first trip to such a fantastic place. He gave each of us fifty cents and we rode and rode the rides for hours. I remember driving tiny red sports cars around a track, and bumper cars, neon lights and cotton candy. A Big Night of Fun.

In contrast, our community held an annual country fair at the high school. On display were colorful, flamboyant and patterned poultry, pigs in their largess, mama cows with their heifers, canned goods, giant pumpkins, prize roses, quilts and coverlets, all from the hands and lives of folks only a few miles encompassing the festival. The elder men of my family gathered for days preceding to cook and chop hundreds of pounds of meat to make the annual barbecue, the main dish of the event.

For the past week we've all reflected on the 40th Anniversary of that same year, I was relishing the celebration of my 7th Grade class trip to Charleston, basking in the sea air on the Boardwalk of Folly Beach, sipping cokes and eating hot dogs and making the rounds on the carnival rides. Later that summer, I scored my Woodstock souvenir at the T-shirt Shop on the Boardwalk of Myrtle Beach. The merrymaking continued at The Pavilion,with calliope music, rides upon rides, games and photos in the photo booth.

The Fairs and Festivals from year to year are the remnants of Americana that tie our memories into the quilted threads that hang over the grandstands with Blue, Red and White ribbons.

In my past travels between New England and the Carolinas, I followed a favorite band to Sullivan's Island one summer in the late eighties. Upon returning North, dodging a tropical storm, I ventured off course for a visit to Asbury Park. What a monument to beachside, boardwalk amusement and local, pure, all American fun.

I dream about what it may have been like to grow up in the shadow of a place like that.

What I marvel at most is how each visit to a Festival, a State Fair or an Amusement Park marks special times in our lives to remember. They go on like clockwork to indicate season's change, harvest, community fellowship and commemoration. As holiday lights and watching fireworks with family and friends, they illuminate us.

My most surreal trip to a State Fair was a pre-planned trip with my husband to the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Arden. It was September 11, 2001. As ominous a day as it turned out to be, we felt like we should get out and do something. Certainly a shroud hung over the Fairgrounds, yet the show went on. The livestock, the funky chickens, the games, the rides were on stage for all who came. We walked around, saw "Asleep At the Wheel" perform, had a couple of corn dogs and called it a night. We never even rode one ride.

Of all the greatest times at these Grand Places, my fondest recollections are those tiny red cars we drove when we were tiny little girls, the Demolition Derbys, and most of all, riding the elephant with my best girlfriend.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Babes in the Woods

Girls camping trip. A spontaneous road trip to White Oak Camp at Table Rock. Summer days. Rain drops fall. Hanging out under makeshift tarps by a sizzling campfire. Keeping company with ferns and mossy embankments. Boulder stepping stones lead in to chilly waters fed by cascading falls. July ends.

Coffee brews in an Italian pot on the new camp stove we broke in at supper time the night before. Peaceful hours knitting, drawing, collaging and talking. We are a million miles from home.

Our only commitment, to rest and relax and enjoy the scenery. Surrounded by forest, it is cool and refreshing. Unusual for the middle of summer.