Not too early to be thankful

  • Friday, November 15, 2013

A fine day to shoot chickens, c.1953.

On the social media website Facebook, it's traditional for people to post daily in the month of November – each day sharing something they're thankful for.

I haven't participated in this 30-day “thankfulness” exercise, and since today is Nov. 15, I'll try to catch up by listing 15 things I'm thankful for.

1) I'm thankful that, as a young child, I lived for awhile in my great grandmother's house. The house had no bathroom. You cannot really appreciate indoor plumbing unless you've visited an outhouse alone, all the while wondering if that noise you just heard was a snake, a pig, or your big brother trying to scare the daylights out of you.

2) I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to live 'in the country', where I could run barefoot and tote a gun, like the one I'm holding in this photo. No, it wasn't loaded. I was pretending to shoot the chickens you see in the background because they terrified me with their peck, peck, pecking.

3) I'm thankful for the small, rural church I attended as a child and the wonderful old hymns I learned.

4) I'm thankful for my older brother, Rhett, whose obsession with reading rubbed off on me.

5) I'm thankful for the librarians at the old library on Highmarket Street, who looked the other way when I left the children's section, wandered into the adult section, and made myself comfy in the room with the overstuffed chairs.

6) I'm thankful for my older cousins, Elaine and Janice, who taught me how to dance on their weekends home from Coker College. They introduced me to the music of the Ink Spots, an all-black group popular long before Motown came to be.

7) I'm thankful for my Mama's home-cooking, especially her fried chicken. My friend Elise Ballard ate supper with us once and said, “You folks really gnaw your chicken down to the nub.” We still laugh about that 55 years later and quote her whenever we have fried chicken.

8) I'm thankful for the sweet, sweet school teachers I had in my early years, among them Mrs. Stanland, Mrs. Harper, Miss Rush, and Mrs. Stalvey.

9) I'm thankful for the Hopper girls (Ann, Frances, Mary Agnes, and Patricia) who were my neighbors and sparked my reverence of Catholicism. I especially appreciated Mary Agnes sneaking off with me to the Strand Theater to see The Bad Seed, a 1956 movie banned by the Catholic Church.

10) I'm thankful for my younger sister, Dutchin, even though she terrorized me at night by making 'ghostly' sounds when I tried to fall asleep in the bed we shared.

11) I'm thankful for my baby brother Mark, who endured all sorts of torture from our older brother, but still remained kind and sweet.

12) I'm thankful for my music teacher, Mrs. “Tag” Horan, for giving me the role of Gretel in the musical, Hansel and Gretel. I was a lousy actress, but I developed a love of singing that has lasted a lifetime.

13) I'm thankful for my high school English teacher, Miss Sue Ott, for introducing me to the music of Bob Dylan in 1964. This literally opened up a brand new world to me and prepared me for the turbulent '60's and '70's.

14) I'm thankful for the opportunity to write this column. I have met and interviewed some of Georgetown County's finest citizens and toured old homes that made an imprint on my soul.

15) Most of all, I'm thankful for my daughter Rhett, her husband Cody, and their two-year old son, Cole. Rhett was a “miracle” child I had late in life and the miracles keep on coming.

To all the people in my life, past and present . . . thanks for the memories.

I may be reached at (843) 446-4777 or email at djsummey@gmail.com.

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