Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yes, Even Now She Continues to Teach

If you skipped over the comment section of the previous posting, you must go back and read Richard's words. Beautiful remarks. Beautiful.

I have always been impressed at how easily Richard can take my 30 minutes worth of conversation and boil it down to 30 seconds.

Oh Well................The long winded one will continue buoyed by the knowledge that the Baton Rouge Crew is now comfortably on board.

This seventh posting today marks the end of my first week's efforts at this new endeavor. As I reflect on the experience I have t0 admit that I am selfishly gaining far more from the writing than those few of you out there are gaining from the reading.

I can already feel the temptation to stray from my stated purpose of honoring Mother and Daddy with the reprinting of the letters of her former students and friends.....turning this site into a forum for "all things Jimmy" as if my feeble brain contained information or thoughts worthy of spreading to the world at large.

I suspect that anyone getting through even one week of this kind of concentrated, focused activity already has an ego the size of a hot air appropriate analogy for sure. Why else would one spend several hours each night at a keyboard while ignoring all the wonderful programing available on TV.

Additionally I've been sending out e-mails, making phone calls, putting posting on facebook, and generally making a nuisance of myself all for the purpose of saying: "Look over here, over here. Watch me, watch me." Well, at least that part of this venture is coming to a close.

I've decided that if the good Lord wants people to see these Pearls of Wisdom he'll just have to whisper in their ears on his own time. In the meantime I'm going to continue to talk to the "few", be less concerned about the "many", and continue to reap all the benefits of my ramblings.

Mother would be the first to say: "If you don't have anything good to say, then just shut up". Well I still have many good things to say about Her. So I think I'll get back on track and concentrate on my stated mission. Yes, even now she continues to teach.

I talked to Mother yesterday and can report that she seemed pretty perky. Probably due to our poetry sessions. I choose to believe that anyhow. When we got to that part of our conversation where I began reading to her I chose a poem that I was quite sure she would not know; The Purple Cow. In true fashion she fooled me again. Same routine. One line then she took over.

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

My first thought was why in the world would she know this "nothing of a poem". Of all the neuro-paths buzzing around in her head why would one be taken up with this short verse. So after we ended our session of reading, reciting, and being amazed I hung up and went to the computer to Google The Purple Cow.

I continue to be astounded at my ignorance. It seems that I am probably the only one alive that hasn't heard of The Purple Cow. Written in 1895 by Gelett Burgess it was described as being world famous and continues even to this day to be parodied:

I've never seen a purple cow,
My eyes with tears are full.
I've never seen a purple cow,
And I'm a purple bull.

Yes, even now She continues to teach.

I want to thank the writers of the three letters I posted yesterday for their kind words concerning Mother and Daddy. As you will see in the letters that will follow as I continued to post them, one recurring memory always seems to crop up concerning James Neville.....his bottle of Maalox.

His fairly regular consumption of this elixir has often sparked speculation as to the true contents of the assorted bottles he kept handy at school, work, and at home. I want to put those rumors to rest. It really was Maalox. To the best of my memory I never saw Daddy drink anything stronger. That is until his cousin Kathleen moved back into town.

Kathleen Downs was an older first cousin, the only daughter of Alice Myrtle LeDuke and Charlie Earles. Kathleen's mother died when she was 15. Kathleen, her father, and her father's sister Letha lived next door to us on LeDuke Street. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Letha, as we called her, raised chickens, goats, and one pig and always had a big garden in the back yard. Their tomatoes and chickens were separated from us by a tall wooden fence. In those days before kitchen sink disposers we helped Aunt Letha feed her chickens by tossing all, and I mean all, of our garbage over the fence.

When Kathleen moved back to Tiptonville following the death of her husband Arthur Downs, she razed the old house she had grown up in and built the house that stands today. Several weeks after moving into her new digs she approached James Neville and asked him why his children were throwing watermelon rinds, banana peels, and other assorted garbage over her fence into her back yard.

After hearing James Neville's explanation she informed him that considering that Letha had died eight years before Kathleen moved back and had in fact not raised any chickens for the last ten years of her life, perhaps it would be appropriate to find a different method of discarding trash. We had our first garbage disposer installed within a week.

Kathleen had lived her entire adult life far north of the Mason-Dixon line and was accustomed to having an afternoon cocktail. James Neville, having already completed two working activities each day, carrying the mail and teaching skulls full of mush, seemed to be absent quite often once "As the World Turns" was off the air. Mother always wondered why he seemed to be in such a good mood in the early evenings when she was still grading papers and cooking supper.

Daddy may have tipped a couple with cousin Kathleen, but I think he still preferred his Maalox.

Jimmy LeDuke

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