Sunday, July 26, 2015
Dinner on the Grounds (Blogophilia 23.8)
The church hadn't changed much, perched over Highway 288 like a Monopoly piece.The white picket fence shone with its annual paint job. Portable gazebos donated by the local funeral home dotted the lawn, protecting the dinner on the grounds. The trays of potato salad and sliced ham protected from stray pine needles.
Memories of Homecoming past rushed forth. Stilted greetings, Praise the Lord's and too much food, all to draw the backsliders to the flock. Mom would give him a pill to keep him from getting sick on the road home to Atlanta before they left. But, the medicine never worked. Mountain twists caused cold sweat to issue out from the edges of his crew cut. Brother would make sure he moved from side to side until he would puke harder than a shook Coke can. The car would stop with two cussing parents holding paper sacks to his mouth and wet paper towels to his head.
That was long ago. After Mom died, Dad didn't want to have anything to do with the church, mountains or in-laws. He was happy just to drink his life away. It didn't take long.
He left Georgia and the South after his memorial, thinking there was nothing left. Skipping from Chicago to New York and then finally to Los Angeles, he managed to do well in the entertainment business. No more drunk misery, pining for a past that didn't exist. Never the lead item in People, but the bills stayed paid. And that was a good thing. He could be in twenty movies and he would never be an actor. Or at least one the paparazzi cared about. That was good thing.
He'd always been spiritual, constantly stopping to reflect on his life and where he was going. Twenty years in L.A. had taught him a couple of things.Controlling all the events in your life just wasn't possible and misery couldn't be wished away. It crept up when he least expected it to. The business had made him feel alone and afraid. Every project teetered on the edge of failing and there was little he could do about it. There was no family to support or to support him. But he plugged on.
Now he was back in the mountains he visited so often in his youth, working as a script consultant for a movie. He had the day off and the director had rented a house on Lake Chatuge for a party not a quarter mile down the road past the church. Driving over the mountain, his stomach was settled. No cold sweat, the road had the worst curves softened. Without even realizing, he made the turn up the steep slope into the parking lot. The sea of permed white curls and stooped shoulders turned in unison. A flicker of recognition came to a set of eyes.
"Ain't you Agnes Hutson's boy?"
"I'm her Grandson, Ma'am" He said smiling."Teeny was my Mom."
"Oh, yeah. That wild one did have a passel of kids. Y'all get in here and eat." The old lady then turned to the crowd. Hey, Y'all. We got a Prodigal here "
"All the Glory to God, Sister Hazel." The Pastor said, handing him a plate of food. "Welcome home, Son."
The other event could wait. He took the food and prayed with gratitude for a new life. He really was home.
Pic Guesses: Morning has broken, Hatchling, New Life (in blog), Sun's daughter, Bird, Tweet,