There are good days, and there are great days. This past Saturday was a great day. ,Two carloads of women – six Mystics (my writers group) and another friend – drove from Auburn to Seale, AL on Saturday afternoon to visit my friends from childhood, Lynne and Joan, and Lynne’s gracious parents, Roy and Janie.
I’ve known Joan since she was born and Lynne since I was five. The three of us grew up in the golden light of Jernigan. They say that California girls have a certain glow, but I maintain that Jernigan girls have a brighter one. Our “secret” is that we ate wild plums and homemade jam, chewed sour grass, and drank well water. During summers, we read Nancy Drew books into the early morning hours and then slept until we smelled fresh vegetables cooking and cornbread browning in the kitchen.
When Lynne learned that the Bible said to “go into a closet to pray,” we started The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Prayer Group” in her family’s living room closet where we read all of Dale Evans’s books, alongside many by Edgar Cayce and Jeanne Dixon. We developed our sense of style from Barbie’s wardrobe, and even now can go from “Gone Fishing” to “Solo in the Spotlight” in a matter of minutes. We watched Dark Shadows in the afternoon, and scared ourselves silly a couple of times trying to have a séance. There isn’t enough room in a newspaper column to describe the state of wonderment we lived in for years: finding arrowheads and pottery, boiling peanuts from the fields next to our houses, always maintaining a connection to the land.
Years later, at Auburn, when I heard James Dickey speak, he started his reading with a quote from scripture that immediately took me back to Russell County: “Loose thy shoe from off they foot. For the place whereon thy standest is holy.” Certainly, that holiness was present Saturday as we wandered around the fields in Seale with sheep, cows, and goats — and stood barefooted on the rocks by a waterfall, gazing at a mimosa tree in full bloom and the sunlight refracted through water.
My friends from Auburn were as charmed as I have always been by the elegance and grace of my Russell County friends – but also, as writers, the Mystics were delighted by their remarkable gift for mesmerizing us with stories. All six Mystics contacted me on Sunday to say they want to go back to see Roy and Janie, Lynne and Joan – to hear more of their fascinating memories. Albert Schweitzer said we should be thankful for those people in our lives that rekindle our inner fire; I am so grateful.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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