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Tony J. May Sr.

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Aunt Joyce eats a worm
By Tony J. May Sr.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Could it be that love is present still here and now even as we live and endure circumstances of our day to day lives,here,not only now but in so many other,instances? If one lives long enough and we are blessed as we reflect we may find the answer is yes.

In a time that was long ago, things in life may have been simpler. While back then we were without cell phones or satellite TV. The essential lessons in life have always been about love,family, faith, resolve,commitment and truth. This is my story.

My Aunt Joyce attended the university of Tennessee and on her visits back home she would be the young Aunt that demanded discipline,and critiqued our habits and behavior
She would instruct us, .. don't slam the door !!!!
As we kids raced back and forth eager to go outside and play, then again often rush back inside moments later to get water or something we "forgot", or she would be exasperated when we might, in crazy abandon, bring the games we played of chase, hide and seek, and war inside the house. We were then told to to stay inside or outside, as the old house was without air conditioning and the weather was often in the high 90's or above in rural Alabama and we only had a few strategically placed window fans to circulate the already hot humid air and to bravely but all in vain struggle to give what we hoped would be if nothing more but a brief momentary reprieve against the heat.
She would monitor our tendencies to "flop" down (as was the term) on the aged furnishings at home, reminding us when we sat down too hard or without regard that the sofas and chairs were old and needed to be preserved, ( thank God that things were so well made back then,) because we never managed to remember, especially when we were beset by every child's mortal undoing, boredom!!!!
So forth and so on it went. She so enlightened, and us children, blinded by the light. I think now as I look back that she had seen life from outside of where she had grown up and she had gained a perspective and was now expanding our world inadvertently.
But there were also times when she would be playful and dance, listen to records or interact on a personal level with us. But my favorite times, was the shared time with her sisters. Especially when they would participate in a "salon" weekly event usually on Saturday nights, in the effort of getting prepared for church on Sundays. Weather to sew a dress, pick out shoes, coordinate a choice of what to wear or to do each others hair. All of it as a observer was great for me. But I especially cherished the salon events. Because they took longer, i.e. more time with my cousins and more time to experience them the sisters together, I have always been fascinated with women, and I think the roots of that adoring started here.
Now too I realize maybe they couldn't afford to go to a salon. But I was a child and blissfully totally unaware of any financial hardship in any areas of life, our own or otherwise.
So as I was saying, my grandmother's home is where all her daughters would get together. "Grand Lula's house" was the official title of the home.The home my Grandmother owned was the center piece of my extended family's existence if not the universe? And the destination of the home was referenced and phrased as such.... I'm going to Grand Lula's house or as we often said, I'm going across the river, we all knew what that meant.
So as I have said this is where the sisters would all gather, with children in tow, which meant we as cousins had a chance to be together while the sisters, all six of them would do each others hair. taking turns as one or two would do laundry,others might cook, a meal that we would all share together later that day, or one would shampoo another sisters hair while another would be actually pressing hair (any of you remember that term?) I loved the dynamics, the atmosphere, and the smell.
I loved this!!!!
It was great being with my cousins and to be around the ladies and my extended family but the thing I liked best about the days back then is the way the sisters would exchange stories of life, expound on their experiences, how they felt about it all, what they learned, and how they grew because of them.
They gave perspective on ideas, life, the times we lived in, expectations for the future and yes they even gossiped. But while it may not have been the intention,these moments and the things expressed there, what they spoke and confirmed, was essentially who they were and what they stood for, it also laid out a foundation of what we stood for, and who we were as a family, I say this because this was honest, open, communication, and the words said here were unpretentious and unguarded, it was the best ... it was the best ...
No one ever got angry and there were no implied or overt animosities, nothing was said behind anyone's back, it was life in that old house.
The memories of those times are remembered through nostalgic filters and I may tend to romanticize it all, but it is what it is.
I said all that to say ...Aunt Joyce used to tease all her nieces and nephews by singing this song about eating a worm which she would insist she had to do because in a realization that no one loved her ... why not?
So this is the song she would sing ... and the response from us was ..... oh noooooooo , we love you Aunt Joyce don't eat a worm .... but undaunted she would respond with this song anyway...

"Nobody loves me everybody hates me ... I think I'll go in the garden and get a worm"
.. I'm going to bite off his head,

( insert biting sound effect , here ... chuuuuummmmmp!)

and suck out his guts

( insert sucking sound effect , here ... sluuuuuuuurrrrrrrp)

and throw the skinny, winny part away, .... 'cause, .............. nobody loves me, everybody hates me I think I'll go in the garden and get a worm"...

The psychology of reasoning was not applied in the response we gave, we as nephews or nieces never took into consideration that my beautiful, brainy, college educated Aunt despite treats to do so, had never actually ever eaten a worm or given us any concrete reason to think she might ever do such a thing.
But on the off chance that in a moment of utter despair, in realizing she was without our love she might. we felt compelled to act. ..... so we therefore sprung into action and without reserve begged and pleaded ... "Please don't go in the garden and get a worm Aunt Joyce ... we love you.!"
On occasion still to this day I am sometimes taken back in memory to that time when a woman curiously smiling is indicating she is going to take a unceremonious trip to the garden and dine on of all things .. a worm. Not to mention the likely hood of which was exponentially compounded by the fact that my Grandmother had 4 very large fields surrounding us and I suppose they all had worms in them, just waiting to be eaten .....Ohhhh the pressure, what were we to do?
But wait- a- minute why is she smiling? Hmmmmmm

Now I think I know why she's smiling and I'm not surprised to realize I'm smiling too.
Love is confirmed in ways that can always make you smile.

BTW I also have to tell you the story of how my Uncle Raymond who used to pick us up by our head ... I love him too. 

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