Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking Time

I took my time on my last trip down into the Delta. A lot of time. For the first time, I spent 3 nights and had 2 full days at my little cottage. With so much time came new experiences and perspectives.

One of my goals in having my own place in the Delta was to really live there. I know that is not totally possible as my home is still in Memphis and, at least for awhile, I will be a visitor, although perhaps a frequent one. But living somewhere does require a commitment that just being a visitor does not require. For example:

When you live somewhere, you get to know your neighbors. My new next door neighbor dropped by one afternoon just to introduce herself. I was on a business call and could not spend time with her, but I thought about the hospitality she showed me, a total stranger, even though I wouldn't be there full time. I knocked on her door the morning I left, hoping to return her kindness, but she was not at home. I must be sure and reach out to her next time I am there.

Mont Helena goes dark during "A Dream Revisited"
When you live somewhere, you support local events. As luck would have it, a new friend of mine had an extra ticket to "Mont Helena: A Dream Revisited" and asked me to go with her, her husband and her mother. It was a wonderful, very professional performance in the very house where the main characters had lived, loved and died. There is no better way to bring a house to life than to know the family that made it a home. An added benefit of attending was meeting so many people! My hostess graciously introduced me to literally everyone and they were all so welcoming. I hope they will forgive me if I don't remember all their names!

When you live somewhere, you become involved. I already feel myself being drawn into the community. It started with a joke (well, at least I think it was a joke since it was followed by LOL) about volunteering at "A Dream Revisited" next year. I started to think about it and decided to take the offer up and suggest that perhaps there was a way to get involved at the fall festival. That's all it took, someone invited me and I said yes, and the opportunities are flowing in, including one to meet the hospital administrator in town to explore how I may be supportive.

My Great-Grandfather, the first of 5 Jefferson Davis Upshaws
When you live somewhere, you take the time to explore. I found myself half-way to Yazoo City one day so decided, what the heck, just go all the way there. I had not been to see Daddy since January and thought a trip to Glenwood Cemetery on a sky blue day would be a nice outing. Once there I did my usual thing, but because I had time, I noticed things I had never paid attention to before. I noticed that my great-grandfather, the first Jefferson Davis Upshaw, was born in May, 1861. That was just one month after the beginning of The Civil War (or The War, as we call it around here). I cannot even imagine what his parents were feeling with his birth -- the joy of new life and the fear of war and death.

A mass grave of 700-800 Confederate soldiers in Glenwood Cemetery
I also noticed a small American flag planted in the ground near a group of graves. I strolled to the spot and was surprised to find a mass grave of 700-800 unknown Confederate soldiers who fought to protect Yazoo City at the Battle of Benton Road.  What a loss it was for them, their families, their community. Every life is precious and losing so many at one time reminds us how bloody that war was for our country. As we recognize the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War this very month, we should remember that nothing has compared to it since in U.S. history.

When you live somewhere, you take what comes. Finally, I rode out my first tornado weather on this last trip to the Delta. Thank God I had so many enjoyable experiences on this trip because I needed them to make up for the rain, wind, hail and tornadoes! It was definitely un-nerving and perhaps scary, but my little cottage and I made it through unscathed. So, I have my first weather battle scar. I hope it is the only one I get, but I doubt that will be true.

I am so glad I took the time to get to know some of the people and places of the Delta. It is, I realize now, a journey I will be on all year. But the more time I take, the deeper into the fabric of the area I will go, and I think that is what having a place there was all about any way.

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