That's what she would say, I remember. My Mamaw Elowese was, by all outward appearances, a very simple soul. She never drove a car. She could not read, but would buy all those smutty Star and Enquirer rag mags at the grocery store counters anyway. She could cook for an extended family of 25 or more people and never break a sweat. I can still smell that Sunday chicken frying…
Mamaw never really went anywhere. She barely left Big Creek where she and Papaw raised my dad and his siblings. To her, the most heavenly place on earth was the backwoods of rural Pike County, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. She rarely got to visit. Too many kids to feed and too many miles to drive on those unforgiving back roads. She played the cards she was dealt. She lived the majority her 79 years on that hill in the sticks of Southwest Virginia.
She had dreams of something else, and I know this to be true. In the back of one of her closets, she had a lovely, shiny pair of ruby red patent leather high heels. They had never been worn. I was fascinated by those shoes as a small girl, and I'd wear them around my Mamaw's house and admire myself in them. It didn't matter that they were too large for my feet. They were fabulous. I was it in those shoes. Mamaw thought it was the funniest thing.
"Get your red shoes on, girl," she'd say with a chuckle. We'd pretend we were classy ladies and we pranced around saying oh yes, dahling and how do you do today, madam… She never got to wear those red shoes anywhere, but I know she wanted to. I know she dreamed of something exciting and arcane, of places she'd never been and music she'd never heard…
I'm doing fine, thank you. It's been a couple of years since I last left a mark on these pages. So much has transpired…
My dad has been gone from this world for a year this month. He was told he had cancer, and he decided to leave this place a mere 25 days later. I can't say I blame him. I miss my old Paw. He is in an urn on my bookshelf where I keep some of my treasures and old photographs.
I have come to terms with the realization that I'm not getting any younger, so I'd best do what my innards tell me to do. I have always been a raconteur. A storyteller. A writer of dreams and ideas and lies. I come from a wild array of different souls, and their stories are worth telling. And hearing. And so, I am going to tell them. Paw would be proud.
An excerpt from my current project can be found here (and in the entry below). I am always grateful for feedback, of course.
We are all headed somewhere. Sometimes, the path to where you're headed begins all the way back there where it all began. I'm ready to go.
I've got my red shoes on.