I am going to announce something that will be pertinent only to people who have never met me: I am an only child. Though there were probably a few days during the summer of 1978 when I wished for a brother or a sister; I have never really felt like I missed out on anything. I reveled in my only child-ness and enjoyed most every minute I spent growing up in small town Alabama with my wonderful parents.
My mother was a banker and Daddy taught school so during the summer months I usually spent more time with him. He would let me drive down the dirt roads near my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. He let me go barefooted and always said “yes” to the hot fudge cake for dessert, even at lunch. I was fortunate indeed that he didn’t stop for a single minute to think that he couldn’t teach me about woodworking or car repair or painting or plowing or anything I ever wanted to learn simply because I was a girl. When I was little, and the snow came through in the winter, Daddy would cart my friends and me around to sled on all the great hills until we were too frozen to move.
Then he would make us all hot chocolate, put our gloves and socks in the dryer, and take us back out again. On hot summer afternoons he would let us ride in the back of his truck to get snow cones at the Tasty Dip. He literally created the first ever “mash up” for the First United Methodist Church Candlelighter’s Choir when he taught us to sing Oh How I love Jesus and Jesus Loves Me at the same time. We called it Orange Juice, which made absolutely no sense at all—but he let us. And we loved it.
He can play anything in the world on the piano—by ear— and was the lead singer in more than one very hip 1960’s band. He sang at our wedding reception while my husband and I danced to Color My World and then proceeded to shut the place down with me as we did an entire father-daughter dance routine to Wooly Bully. Lord A M ercy knows if You Tube existed back then we would have gone viral.
I look back on all those fun times and I am so thankful he taught me all the things he did. Even though I was a girl, it never occurred to him that he shouldn’t. Because of him I know to keep my eye on the ball when swinging a bat and my thumb on the outside of my fist when throwing a punch. I know to measure twice and cut once. I know how to negotiate when buying a new car. I understand how to take responsibility for my actions. I know if you act like you know what you’re doing you can get away with just about anything. I fully grasp the importance of helping others any chance you get. And I know how to hold my own pretty much anywhere I go.
I have tried to pass along the traits I learned from both of my parents to both of my children— who could not be more different from each other. They seem to have listened and learned fairly well through the years and like most parents, when I see them use a skill I taught them it gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Especially if it’s something my daddy taught me first.
Recently, my son told me about being asked to help build a desk. His friends said all five of them couldn't get it done in one night. Jake had it done, on his own, in forty five minutes flat—and he never even opened the instructions.
And later that week when I received a photo of my daughter and her friend using jumper cables in the school parking lot after school, I was more proud than I can say.
A native of Heflin, Alabama and savorer of all that small town, Southern life has to offer. I am a lifelong Methodist and love the "Open Hearts, Open doors, Open Minds" philosophy of The United Methodist Church because I truly believe "Y'all" means “ALL”!
My husband Rick and I have two children, Jake and Sadie Sue. We all live a fun, fast paced and unpredictable life in the Heart of Dixie where we share our home with four dogs, Otis, Bear, Dixie and Molly & two cats, Katrina and Oliver.
You can follow along with our adventures on Instagram @thealabamahousewife or by visiting www.thealabamahousewife.com.