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Morning Song by Darlinggirl
March 2004

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Give me Memphis, Tennessee....
March 26, 2004

Well, if Memphis is all full up, I'll happily spend the nights in Bartlett, Tennesssee...we're building up a whole aresenal of happenings and memories that took place in dear old Bartlett. Heehee. It's an excellent thing walls can't talk but I can't help but hope some of the fun and joy lingers on for the next wayfarers!

Old Man Mississippi was rolling on, dark and turbulent between its banks and Memphis Magnolias were just beginning to open. We stopped by the berth for the paddlewheel boats, all in a row, teeny lights twinkling in the dusky air. What it is about bodies of water that affect me so strongly? Of course, the Mississippi's power and majesty is tangible, real, mysterious. Oh Black water keep on rollin' fast to the sea! (And I'd be happy to dance with my Daddy all night long, as that old DoobieBrothers song says.)

Crossing over from Arkansas into Tennessee is a signal to switch from what I always call (in my mind)my Arkansas Traveler's Trashy Lingerie to my Tennessee's Trashy but a little less hardcore Lingerie. Heehee. Memories of old girl friends and their, uhmmm, instructions and guidance rush to the fore. Mostly, though, it was Mouse's wise, wise tutoring that took hold. Bless her heart.

Beale Street and barbque and blues and music of all sorts and brown-bagged Maker's Mark toted back to Bartlett. (Now, that most assuredly made me feel hard-core Trashy ...the image of my husband, toting his crinkled bag of Maker's Mark. If it had been Woodford Reserve, I'd have felt better, I'm sure. Can't help my raising but I am sooo totally uncomfortable (for real) with certain things. It amuses my husband to no end, but I'm really not a redneck, contary to what appearances may suggest.

I simply have to borrow lines from that new song by Gretchen Wilson's (which, by the way, I'm driving KHEY crazy by requesting at least two times a day...I want to hear it when I'm working about the house)Redneck Woman . Ahem..."I don't need no designer tag to make my man want me" but I personally much prefer it! And yes, I have been known to buy my things half-price at BigEvilMoneyGrubbingMonopoly aka Wal-Mart. I carefully balance my trips to Wal-Mart, for I truly hate their treatment of their employees and many other things. I boycotted them totally for several major holiday seasons. Balance is the key...but mostly it's when I'm really strapped for money and want some girly-girl stuff BADLY or for trips.

Funny how Cheri called me up to warn me about the music video for RedNeck Woman. I had already heard that song on KHEY and just fell in love with it but have hardly turned on the television for weeks and weeks. In Louisville, I finally saw it. *sigh* Now I understand, for if there is anyone in this whole world who knows why that music video will send me sinking into the black slough of despond it's my little sister. Gretchen Wilson has long, long black hair, parted on the side with a hint of bangs. Almost to her elbows, just as I did for so much of my life. Cheri knows well the terrific struggle between me and my parents to keep that hair...beginning at the middle of my senior year in high school. Talk about a battle royale! I still don't understand it at-all.

I finally gave up and gave in the summer after graduation, almost two days before I met Himself!!! GRRRR. He's never seen me like that, I tore up the few pictures from that time out of sheer anger and frustration. I know my aunts and some of my friends back home have LOTS of pictures of me like that...but I don't believe I can bear to look at them now. Ever. And I've never allowed to my hair get that long again.

However, AuntieB. surprised me with some shots and here I quote Gretchen Wilson again,"I'll stand barefooted in my own frontyard with a baby on my hip!!" Oh, my, that set the tears going, for sure. I don't know who took that series of pictures, obviously I had not one clue anyone was taking them, they are all from a big Sunday afternoon picnic on my grandparents' back lawn. BabyBoy NumberOne is a few weeks shy of turning one, it's late June of a breathtaking emerald green spring and he's astride my right hip, strawberry-blonde curls glowing in the leaf-dappled light. He's laughing, his little head tossed back, chubby little fingers reaching towards my face, clad only in a fresh teeshirt and diaper, barefoot, little ankles green from the grass and red-streaked from his forays in my grandmother's flower beds. It appears as if I'm talking to him, and I'm totally clueless that anyone is taking pictures of me. I had to smile anyway, for that Victorian blue halter-top was one my husband really liked a LOT. It tied at the nape of my neck and across my mid-back in little bows he didn't mind helping me with one teeny bit! I always thought I was too fair-skinned for it but he violently disagreed. (Mouse called that top a Handkerchief Halter and she wasn't too far wrong.)

First thoughts as seeing that picture last week,"Lord, I was a baby myself." Well, I didn't look my age even then. But mostly I felt all the happiness and absolute joy of those years...and when I was home, there were very few obstacles to that joy. In another shot, one can see my husband by the snowball bushes, kneeling down to gently roll a small basketball to his baby and several of my cousins' small children...a veritable sea of blonde and red and red-gold and tow-headed toddlers it was!

I really choked up at that one and AuntB. had to pat my shoulder...I mean, it's one thing to recall the years passed, but whole 'nother thing to gaze upon pictures of that past! My husband was hardly twenty years old and there he was, there was our baby, we had each other, we had our own house back in Texas, we had come back home and were having so much fun and there on the steps, are all we "Little Girls."

Oh, the LittleGirls. It would be pretty interesting to see what may transpire if we get back together, even it's only me, 'cause I don't know if we can get Cheri back home ever again. Faith called me several times at various homes trying to meet with us...and I think we may have hurt Mouse's feelings 'cause we couldn't get over to MercerCounty this trip at all.

Warning Number Two from Cheri: "Don't leave your husband alone with any of 'em." Heehee. As if I don't know about his fondness for certaint types of red-heads. I must confess, though, I do worry a teeny bit about him being surrounded by a whole bunch of my cousins and friends, if we move anywhere near them. Actually, it could be fun.

So much history and shared experiences lie between us, the Little Girls. All those looks and slightly raised eyebrows at things only we know what's really being said. Memories that shaped us all, for I sure don't pretend that my life back home didn't have a huge influence on what and who I am. The BigGirls over-seeing us all. I miss that.
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