And, now, it will tell you the story of The Day I Was Born........
Memphis Tennessee. Early cold morning, snow falling. My mother had had a couple of false alarms, and wasn't quite sure that this was, in fact, THE Time. Besides, it was Early, and like most all the Jasper wimmen, Early Morning is an almost insurmountable challenge.
My Daddy was not taking any chances this time ( after all, it was their third child), and insisted that they were, in fact, going to the neighborhood hospital.
He bustled my mother out to the car, in the snow, only to find that the tire on his 1950 Chevy was flat.
We are talking dark ages here, folks. There was no InstaAir to pump up the tire. Not even a spare tire in the trunk. His only option was to get out the hand pump. Manually. Like a bicycle pump. Attach the nozzle, brace your feet on it, and put your biceps to work. And so he knelt down and began to air up that flat. In the cold January snow.
My mother, waiting for her knight in shining armor to slay this dragon, did what any Southern born princess would do.
She jumped up and down, her turgid belly rolling like Santy Claus, and clapped her hands and Laughed.
And as the snow blew and the tire filled with air, my father doubled over in severe abdominal pain, exactly coinciding with his wife's labor pain. His appendix later ruptured, and he nearly died, but not this day. That is another story.
They arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. It was Morning, remember......I was not born until after 4 that afternoon. My father consumed an entire bottle of Paragoric (a camphorated tincture of opium, commonly used to treat belly aches, available overthecounter in those days), and staved off the appendix rupture for a few more months. He also endured taunts from his friends about "sympathy labor."
I emerged into this world quite ugly. Dark, ruddy skin and exploding straight Black hair. My eight-year-old sister looked upon me in horror and asked my proud father, "you mean we waited all this time for....for....This?!" My father fell in love from the very beginning. He and I share the same stubborn spirit.......
Quickly my sister’s mothering instincts overrode the initial shock, and I became a Permanent Appendage upon her right hip. I did not walk alone until I was nearly two. My days and nights were disordered, and I never, really learned to sleep when proper children should. Seldom did I allow others to teach me, insisting I make my own mistakes in the Learning Process. Always I rushed in where more prudent folk knew never to tred. Beloved and confirmed and doted upon by my older sister and brother, I grew up believing that Life was beautiful and everyone loved me.
As the third and final child, my parents raised me with the idea that I would outgrow any unacceptable behaviors. My siblings believed I was their very own to dote upon and entertain. They all taught me joy and kindness and showed me how to be grateful.
For 66 years I have been loved with overwhelming abundance and affirmation. My life is rich. My memories are sweet. My heart is full.