That was the first thing that popped into my head from Friday’s SoCS (now also on a Sunday — at least on this blog!) prompt. Ahem, from the lovely and talented Linda G. Hill: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “empty/hollow.” Use one, use both, entirely up to you. Enjoy!
The second thing that I thought of was Meme, in polyester pants and her normal 1-inch heels, halfway up the side of a hillside in Arkansas, digging for quartz.
I was lucky in my grandparents. I only have vague memories of kissing Pawpaw’s head on the way out the door when we’d leave Mawmaw’s house (no fuzz, all bald) on the way back to my Moms. He died of a heart attack when I was . . . 6ish? 5ish? Young, anyway. (And, woot, I’ve made it longer than my Dad without a heart attack — he had his first one at 41 or 42 when I was in college. I’ve got that going for me.)
Mawmaw was always good for playing games — Milles Bornes, Uno, Gin Rummy, Yahtzee. I gave up playing Scrabble against her when she pulled “zither” out of somewhere one day. She also scored the highest point total in a single Uno hand I’ve ever seen — something like 470 points. I think she got to play one card before someone went out.
Meme and Pawpan were always on the go. Pawpan had sold his pharmacy Breaux’s Drugs around when I was 7ish or so. Meme and Pawpan then began to travel some. They even bought motorcycles at one point. pretty sure that was Pawpan’s idea. They soon disappeared.
Meme was originally from Arkansas before she moved to Plaquemines south of Baton Rouge in high school, so they started going to Petit Jean State Park which is somewhere around Hot Springs (I think, anyway, probably should look at a map one day) off and on during the summers.
Being 7 and not having a job, they took me with them for a few summers and a few weeks at a time.
Gotta say, was pretty awesome. They had a small camper that they had parked in one of the spots. It had a queen bed, a sink and gas oven, toilet and shower, and the table converted to another bed. It also had glorious AC, like everything in the south should have. We’d go hiking. Some caves. Swimming. Watching the outdoor movie in the evening — I remember seeing the Lorax vividly.
Catching fireflies that looked like flashing stars through the trees.
And visiting Booger Holler. It was an actual place. And maybe my fondness for a tacky tourist trap can be traced to my visit.
You can look it up, it had a population 7 and a coon dog sign before the “town.” The “town’ was just a few buildings where they sold some food and tacky-ass souvenirs (love that word in French, which translates loosely into ” to remember”).
And, of course, the pennant at the beginning of this post, which hangs on the wall in my “office.”
I still think back fondly about those summers now and then. The phrase “not a care in the world” perfectly describes how it felt to be there. No school (I was shy). No step dad. No chores — other than chopping wood for the fire at night, which wasn’t a chore at all. Just being fed, being loved, and being a kid.
Was pretty nice.
Meme really did wear one-inch heels all the time — hiking, in the caves we went to, everywhere. Pretty sure her achilles had tighted by that time so that flats weren’t comfortable for her to wear.
I did almost die there though. one of the hikes went along a cliff edge. Not sure how it happened, but I was running or tripped or something and almost rolled off. Pawpan stopped me about two feet from the edge. That was the second time he saved my life — the first when I was 2 or 3 at their camp in Hackberry. I choked on a cookie and he reached in a pulled it out. I turned blue, so maybe that’s what happened to me!
OTH, Pawpan also made us wooden swords for me and Lee to whack the shit out of each other. And turned me loose with an axe to chop wood. Guess it evened out.
After a few years, they stopped going because they had to take care of my cousin full time. They ended up parking the camper at camp in Toledo Bend about an hour north of Lake Charles. Toledo Bend — also awesome. Wasn’t the same because I was always there with some combo of my brother, Jeremy (my cousin), and/or Lee (my other cousin).
Anyway, that’s my 20 minutes and I didn’t even get to the way Pawpan drove the Cadillac down the mountains like he had a death wish. I remember “LEE BREAUX. Slow IT DOWN!” a bunch of times. If Meme had been a cusser . . . I would’ve learned a few new words.
This SoCS (on a Sunday) post written to the 10th Anniversary Les Miserable concert (which isn’t as good as the 25th Anniversary, but is in Amazon Prime.)
I’ll leave you with the one song I find achingly sad and lonely from Les Mis, On My Own.