Wednesday, June 25, 2008
What y'all have been waiting to see
Christmas of 1991, I drove from Virginia to my dad's hometown in southwest Georgia. My dad fretted as he often does when I hit the road on my own. To alleviate his stress, I said that I would only drive to Durham alone. From there, I would follow my great aunt and her husband down to Georgia.
Thing is they planned to stay in Georgia less time than I did so I would be doing the drive home alone. I told my relatives that I would see how I felt when I got to Durham. If necessary, I would spend the night with these relatives and head out the next morning. The thing is that that the drive from my dad's hometown to Durham is something like seven hours. And I did at least half the drive in torrential rain. I stopped in Durham for gas and realized that if I didn't keep going, I would never make it home. I was near bone tired and operating on adrenaline. So another three hours later, I arrived home. I was hungry and tired. Tired won. I had no food at home and just didn't have the energy to go out to find some. I awoke the next morning in a pickle. Where were my keys? After a half hour of searching, I found them -- in the front door. That's when I realized just how tired I had been the previous evening.
The next time I took the trip was for Christmas 1997. That time I did the drive via Florence, South Carolina. (I had a friend back then who lived in Florence.) There was also supposed to be a stop in Savannah but my grandmother ended up in the hospital briefly. I felt that it was more important that I spend that extra time with her instead of exploring Savannah. One day I will finally get to Savannah, though.
But y'all don't want to hear about all that. Y'all want to hear about the tiara. First of all, let me say that it is real rhinestones. That thing has weight to it. When I arrived in Georgia, I was relegated to one of my usual family holiday duties -- gift-wrapping. As in, I wrap everyone's gifts except for the ones that are for me. (When I was in high school, my parents would pay me to wrap their gifts. My mother said that I have a way with odd-shaped packages.) My grandmother and my aunts had numerous packages that needed wrapping. Have I mentioned that my dad is one of ten children? My grandmother was not wheelchair-bound at this point so in the daytime, we would talk about food. Prior to her wheelchair days, I would have been helping her with the holiday baking like I did in 1991. At night I wrapped gifts into the wee hours of the night.
It all started that first night of gift-wrapping. I went digging through the bags of wrap and trim and found -- a tiara. My aunt explained the origin of the tiara -- some sort of pageant -- and I promptly set it upon my head. Every night I would pull out the tiara so that I could wear it while I wrapped gifts. Christmas Day it was decided that I should hand out the gifts. "But where is your tiara?" my aunt asked. I found it and put it on. And then handed out gifts and smiled for photos.
I had said during that visit that I would take the tiara home with me. I didn't. Perhaps I should go back for it. Because I've been practicing the hands and all so they don't seem so dead.