Southern Crazy Quilt

Mom: noun \ˈmäm, ˈməm\ What does it really mean?

The Daily Post prompt: “Dear Mom”—write a letter to your mom. I never thanked her for every role. Room Mother, Sports Mom, Carpool Queen, School Project Manager, Tutor, Laundress, Nurse, Homekeeper, Psychologist, Cheerleader, Baker, Mover, Shaker, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer + a lot of other stuff Thank you, Miss Bunny, from the bottom of my […]

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You Say “ca-MEE-lia”; I Say ”ca-MELL-ia”

The camellia, the Deep South’s winter belle, freshly accents the dormant garden. Its Asian invasion long forgotten, the camellia japonica is Sweet Home Alabama’s beloved state flower.  No matter how you drawl it, this flower is a cold-weather keeper. Speaking of pretty blooms and soon-to-be spring . . . now is the time to think of […]

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Good Night, Mama Hattie

My 94-year-old grandmother, Mama Hattie, died in January almost 20 years ago. She slipped away while astronauts stepped from the space shuttle, and the blizzard of the century blew through the East. The Pickens County Progress ran an obituary—read faithfully by neighbors in North Georgia. Her family and friends crowded in the Hinton Community United […]

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Farmer Leon Goes Squirrely

My dad’s garden mania shot up when his children-sharecroppers (forced labor until their early teen years) scattered. He doubled the crop when the next-door neighbor gave him permission to plow through the lower end of their backyard. These events forced Dad to double his hours in the garden. My mother never commented, but she developed a blank stare […]

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Blooming on a Delayed Timetable

Catching a man couldn’t begin too early in the South. Not that mamas coached their babies in helpless sighs, arch glances, and pretty pouts. Those charms came naturally—at least for a few girls who budded early, their hot-pink and lime-green dresses giving the dusty playground a lush look. Their hair, parted precisely in the middle, rippled long […]

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Longwood Gardens: Chrysanthemum-Burst

Sunshine beckoned, and we followed. It was a “cool-blue-gold” autumn day, ideal for a turn through Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The Chrysanthemum Festival is a no-miss November event. The Orangery, or conservatory, bursts into a lush spectacle. The festival tangibly reveals Asian sensibility. The art is pure, with more than 80,000 blossoms nurtured and trained into aesthetic forms. John […]

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