Thursday, January 15, 2009


The young men in the picture seem just trimming---I did not get to know them. Girl children, especially your sister’s grandchildren, were certainly less than seen-and-not-heard---we were mostly beneath their notice, and so the three tall, rangy guys, their wide ears punctuating the back row like the portrait of a Royal Family, remain a shadowy trio across the top, with nothing but their fanciful names to my memory.

I HAVE just noticed through the photo-loupe that the middle one holds a battered fedora and has a home-rolled clamped unlit between his fingers, the tell-tale little wisp-twist awaiting the match---he was probably antsy for all that fol-de-rol to be done so he could unbutton that collar and light up.

The two smaller young boys in their snowy shirts and little overalls are little mysteries, their solemn faces and sun-frowned brows giving them a wary stance belied by their small stature and moment-of-quiet in what must have been romping, running, elbows-and-shouts lives of small country boys, coupled with whatever work they were big enough for yet.  I'd imagine that they were doing their part to carry on the dirt-stomp of that grassless yard, as they lived those hot Southern lives.  Small Samuel, on the right, is twin to Aunt Bessie, in white to his right,

Uncle Pea-bo is one of the ones on the back row, but I'm cloudy on which.

His wife Aunt Katie was a little Jilldaw of a woman, if there is such a word. She loved glittery stuff---jewelry and pins and hair ornaments and rhinestone-heeled pumps, and stockings with seams and black flocked butterflies flitting up the ankles.

She was barely my shoulder-height---and I ain’t tall---with a tiny ratted bun atop her head like the knot on a brioche. Instead of hats for special occasions, she wore something shiny stuck before her bun, and she draped neck, arms, fingers and lapels with whatever came to hand in her big treasure chest of tarnished baubles.

She came to my Granpa’s funeral with about five pounds of various metals draped about her person and the gleam of tarnished rhinestones on every finger, with the above butterflies on her hose, black suede ankle-strap stilettos, a wide gold lame belt failing miserably to cinch her plump little waist, and an enormous red paper-satin Christmas bow affixed to her purse.

And I DO remember each and every one of those garnishments to her ensemble.

She smelled like Saratogas and Pepto Bismol, and I just LOVED her.

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