Tears and Laughter: Life begins and ends with family…

One of my earliest memories was coloring with my brother Wes and cousin Angie. I was three, which would have made her five and him seven.

And of course they were regular authorities on coloring and started telling me that I wasn’t doing it right, that I wasn’t supposed to color outside of the lines. They said that I was, “just scribbling.” Which I didn’t appreciate in the least, and I told them that they were both being mean and that I was not only going to tell Mama and Granny, I was going to take it a step further, I was telling Aunt Mary too.

We all lived for a time in this protected world. We huddled near Granny I suppose. We were unaware of the million little changes time and distance would soon allow. We had no reason to question that life would be any different than it had for so long been.

From “the hill,” if you would take the dirt road, it would wind you back to the McClure’s old place.

Both the Huckabee’s and the McClure’s arrived in Clayhill in the early 1800’s before Marengo county was established.

The McClure’s came from Ireland to the shore of Pennsylvania and settled in Virginia before moving to South Carolina, just below the North Carolina border. They, along with a mass exodus of other settlers, relocated out of fear of Native American attacks. Specifically, they were afraid of being scalped or hacked to death with hatchets. The settlers traveled via a wagon trail through the Blue Ridge Mountains that was protected by troops under the command of George Washington.

During this same timeframe, John Huckabee had arrived in Virginia with his family from England. The Huckabee’s also removed to South Carolina, then to Georgia, and some of them continued on to Clayhill.

Even after my parents moved us to my beloved Sandflat, a great day in my life was when Mama had to work and I got to spend the day in Clayhill with Granny and Aunt Mary. All of my life, they had been there.

Granny and Aunt Mary had both been seamstresses. They were both strong Baptists. And they could cook with the best.

My Aunt Mary’s chocolate pie, I can’t even begin. Her chocolate candy and her chocolate chip cookies were my favorites. And don’t let Brother Johnny Tucker be coming for Sunday dinner. Together they would prepare a feast.

Brother Johnny spoke at Granny’s funeral, and last Friday he spoke at Aunt Mary’s too.

He complimented their fine cooking and generous hospitality a final time.

I keep thinking back to Wes and Angie and my coloring outside the lines. Kim would have been just a tiny baby. Jason was yet to come along.

We were all so young.

It’s true what they say. Life begins and ends with family.

Don’t take it for granted. What seems like forever…will one day change.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.