Saturday, November 20, 2010

Going Up the Mountain ~ by Allison Rhodes

During his late eighties, a veil of dementia slowly descended over my father. A quiet man who listened more than he ever talked, in these cloudy moments of life I yearned to know him more. Preoccupied with my own life I had talked far more than I listened.
On a typical visit to daddy in the nursing home, I sat down. “Hi Daddy.”
He greeted me with the name he called me when I was a toddler, “Hello Ah-hee.”
“What have you been doing today?”
He fingered the newspaper he always held close and then looked me straight in the eye and answered, “George (twin brother), Strother (friend since boyhood) and I went up the mountain.”
Rather than reminding him these two companions were dead, I asked, “Where did you go?”
The fog lifted for a precious moment and Daddy told me of a day three young boys in early adolescence walked the six to eight miles up the mountain to Earls Ford, where the Chattooga separates South and North Carolina. They went to fish and caught nothing and he smiled at this. “We did take along cans of beans and picked summer berries to eat.” I asked more and he answered. A smile was on his old face and I saw the boy he once was.
After Daddy’s death, I accompanied my siblings down the dirt road to Earl’s Ford and there along the banks of that still beautiful river, we each released a part of our father. In that moment, I heard the laughter of young boys and I smiled.
Stories are a gift that span the generations and shine a light on the circle of life. Precious moments of connection.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rachael and the Extension Cord ~ by Marcia Mayo

The other day, Rachael, one of my former students whose mama had just had a baby, ran up to me in the lunchroom and called out, “Dr. Mayo! Dr. Mayo! My baby brother’s extension cord fell off!”
That’s such a great story to me, not only because Rachael confused the words “umbilical” and “extension,” but also because it reminded me of confusions my own children had when they were little. For example, my youngest, Molly, called eggs “meggs” because we were always asking her if she wanted some eggs, which, in her little mind, sounded like “some meggs.” To this day, in our family, when we talk about eggs, scrambled, poached, or sunny side up, we usually call them “meggs.” Indeed, “meggs” have become a part of our family lore.

What are your memories of confusions you had as a child or malapropisms that your own children or young relatives or friends employed? Take a minute to jot them down or share them with someone. But beware! Memories beget more memories so get ready for them to flood on in.