Favorite Scripture


Wednesday, September 15, 2010



As fall weather begins to peep around the corner for those of us here in the Deep South, I always think back to my childhood in the beautiful hills of West Virginia! Oh those gorgeous MOUNTAINS!!!!! I took them so for granted growing up until I migrated south and I would hear people call a local geographical upheaval in the earth's crust a MOUNTAIN, when in my mind, it was nothing but a "HILL"!! I suppose it WAS/IS higher than most points around North Alabama but when I think MOUNTAINS, I think of those West Virginia Hills "so majestic and so grand" as the words in the state song reverberates in my head. The sun glinting on the leaves as I walked home from school left me with childhood fantasies of raking enough leaves to make the largest pile in the whole world for all my friends to jump in, or living my own brand of the show "SURVIVOR" in the woods around my house, or carving the largest Jack-O-Lantern on Center Street Fall 1964. Fall made me HAPPY! For some reason, Fall made everything GOOD.

So, as Autumn quietly descends upon me, I still feel like that little girl walking home from school wondering if I could get my homework done fast enough to go outside and play in the leaves. Often, Mama would give me a reprieve from homework immediately after school and allow me to play outside. Mary Shrewsbury believed outside and fresh air was kin to godliness and ranked right up there with finishing homework so...fall meant I got some extra time outside. I didn't need playmates if I were pretending to be surviving in the woods. For some odd reason, my favorite pretend play was consumed with being homeless, on the run, or abandoned and having to survive using the elements of nature as my only resource. I thought it was weird of me to like that sort of role playing until I found out that my youngest daughter used to love to pretend the very same sort of "survival of the fittest" games. Collecting acorns was a real passion as was pine cones. My love of Shredded Wheat cereal was not due to the fabulous taste (especially to an 8 yr. old) but I just knew it was what grass tasted like! Sometimes I would sneak those little shredded wheat "biscuits" outside to place in my "secret hideaway" and to further enhance the whole survival experience. Alone, I could be anyone, say anything, or act out my "story" to my heart's content.

In West Virginia, we had a 4 day weekend each fall for "teacher workdays" which translated to me and all my friends, "playing in the leaves" vacation! We would each have our own rake and the object was to see how high we could build a pile. Once the jumping began, one self appointed leaf fairy would volunteer to RERAKE the leaves after each jump. That person was usually someone allergic to leaves and whose mother had told them don't go jumping in those leaves! You might fall on a stick and impale yourself." The rest of us had mothers who had given the same dire warning to watch out for sharp sticks and other foreign objects lurking hidden in and under leaf piles but to a group of 8 & 9 yr. old kids, our Moms were just party poopers who wanted to take the fun out of everything! Oh to be a kid again, strong and energetic enough to rake & jump in leaves for hours! In my mind, I can see the yellows, gold, red and brown of those leaves, smell that musty damp odor, and feel the grit in my eyes from leaf debris.

Inevitably, someone would get hurt, either they found that ONE pointy stick in the leaf pile, or had the wind knocked out of them from landing too hard in the leaf pile after underestimating the amount of "cushion" a 6 ft. pile of leaves can provide a bunch of 8/9 yr. old booties. This meant the day was pretty much over and one by one we would meander back home whether home was next door, down the street, or 2 blocks away. Some rode their bikes and the rest walked home. Living in a small town back in the 50's/60's afforded us as kids the luxury of being away from our home with little or no supervision...armed only with the strict instructions given to us by our mothers or fathers as to how we were to act & behave. We were given rules as to how long we could stay, what our parameters were, and the consequences of breaking those rules. Life was easier that way and I don't remember any of my closest friends ever breaking the rules. I know for certain, I never did! The thought of disappointing my mother was devastating to me as a child and continued to be that way until she died at age 86. MY mother was my rock, my mentor, my guide, my heart, my EVERYTHING! To this day, 7 yrs after she passed away in 2003, I still find myself wanting to pick up a phone to call her and recant the "Trauma" of the day or week. She always loved to hear mine and my sisters' stories. Her interest in even the smallest details of our lives gives me some insight as to how God must feel when I don't pray on a consistent basis...how He knows the number of hairs on my head and yet so often,I leave Him out of my life's minutia. I know HE KNOWS before I tell HIM, but like my sweet Mama, HE wants so much to personally hear it from me!

AHH! Fall or Autumn whatever floats your boat. You make me HAPPY!!...... from each candy apple, caramel apple, candy corn, & popcorn ball to every "Trick-or Treat, Jack-O-Lantern, black cat coloring page, and apple orchard...You, Autumn, Make ME HAPPY!!! On any given fall Saturday in the Hill's Dept. Store parking lot, the memory of homemade apple butter simmering in a huge black "witches" cauldron by the Women's Guild of the Methodist church still wafts in my mind of cinnamon, cloves and apple peelings, curling in piles beside the "apple peelers". Did you know that you can tell the first letter of your future husband's name by taking one long continuous apple peeling, holding the peeling up & allowing it to unfurl, then dropping it on the floor. Whatever letter is formed will begin to spell the name of your one true love. Of course, all us little girls (and big girls too) kept dropping the apple peeling until it formed the letter of our current true love (only known to ourselves) and which verified the inevitability of our future union. FALL makes me HAPPY!!

School Fall Festivals were highly anticipated events. That game of "Go Fishing" was definitely going to result in me winning at least 10 of the cheapest items in the prize box. Cheap prizes from China didn't matter because I was there, I had money in my pocket, and I was with my cousins David & Scott. Not having had brothers, David & Scott provided me with the next best thing...boy cousins that were LIKE brothers but you didn't have to live with them all the time and keep them out of your stuff.
However... when they insisted I go through the Haunted House I wanted to disavow any family relationship to them!! Both would tell me in no uncertain terms "You HAVE to go in with us because we were told we couldn't leave you by yourself, so if we go, YOU go!"

To this day, I have NO love for anything Haunted HOUSE!!!

We were usually tired and ready to go home after our "haunted house" visit; so we set out to locate our parents who were most likely patiently waiting in a designated "parents only"classroom with a coffeepot.....none of these helicopter parents walking lockstep with their children narrating each event and/or making judgment on where to go, what to do, or what group has the best chance of upgrading their child's social status on Monday morning. Nope, we were on our own and liked it that way. Considering my mother would have been considered a lenient parent by today's standards, it is almost funny to learn that Mrs. Mary was by all accounts a very "picky" mother when it came to where I went, who I went with, and most importantly did I "mind my manners" while there. Yes, Fall Festivals made me HAPPY!!

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