I took a trip today to an old memory.
It was an absolutely beautiful day!
I took a ride out to the reason I sit in this town today...
1973...My dad was transferred to Ft. McClellan , Alabama.
My father was serving faithfully in the United States Army...with Vietnam in the recent past, we were beginning a new adventure.
Little did we know, it would be the beginning of much of our future.
My dad had gone ahead of us by a few days, and had gotten our new living quarters secured.
As we drove onto the "post", I remember driving with wide-eyes through the strange roads, in search for our new home. We passed rows and rows of thriving army barracks...green and white. That's what I remember most, the colors.
Everything was green and white...everything.
I remeber seeing men and women dressed in "BDU's", as they were called, scurrying around throughout the rows of barracks...the men and women that served our country.
I knew they were to be respected...even then, as a young child.
I was 8 years old and I remember sitting in the front seat of that old station wagon: the typical paneled sides- family style (sorta like the one on the Brady Bunch).
My brother, Michael, was 4 years old and my mother was a young and snappy 29.
Wow, it seems like just yesterday when we turned onto Morton Road...
3635A Morton Road.
We had moved from Atlanta...from a residential neighborhood in the outskirts of the big city,
into an army base in rural Alabama.
It was quite different, but somehow...
it was rather exciting.
We pulled into the driveway...we were home.
These days were humble.
The memories flood my mind as I write.
The baby rabbits I caught in the back yard patch of woods...
the "fort" I built in those same patch of woods...
the bicycle wreck I had as I hurdled around the curve up the street from our house (the wreck that gave me the scars on my fingers that I can still see as I type)...
the lemonade stands at the end of the driveway...
the tennis courts...
the P.X....the bowling alley...the movie theatre...
it was an entire world of it's own.
We lived on base for 3 years, and in these few years:
my other brother, (Chad) was born,
I witnessed my first death (of my friend Whitney's father),
I made many multi-cultural friends,
and we decided to make Anniston, Alabama our permanent home.
We lived on the base for 3 years.
I went to school on the base (3rd grade--Mrs. Hipp...she was the one who called me out in the hall to tell me I had a new baby borther. 4th grade--Mrs. Campbell--great friend then and we've recently caught back into each others paths, and Mrs. Davis were my teachers--i don't guess I'll ever forget them)
My dad died in 1986 and is buried at the military cemetary of Ft. McClellan , Alabama.
It was a memorable military service, the day after Christmas in 1986...
The 21 Gun Salute---Folding and presentation of the American Flag to our family, and the song "TAPS" played on the bugle...I remember the tear dripping off the face of the soldier that played that song. He didn't even know my father, but he was a brother...in arms.
My father would have been very proud of that day, in honor of a man who served his country for 23 years...served in Vietnam and received the Silver Star and Purple Heart (among many other) prestigious medals...it was a sad, cold wintry day in that McClellan cemetary...
I know my father was smiling.
I visit him a few times a year...he's not there. But I go there anyway...
Ft. McClellan closed it's gates in 1996.
It was a sad day.
The distant sound of the military bugle is reminiscent in the old Buckner Circle.
It belted out it's magnificant sound every work day afternoon at 4:15.
If I was in the car with my father during this time, we would pull the car onto the side of the road wherever we were...he would honorably get out, dressed in his starched officer's uniform, and stand at a saluting attention until the flag was lowered.
I was so proud of him at this moment.
It was reverent, honorable, patriotic...it was the way it should be.
I loved that my father served our country.
I love that old base..why, it's the reason I live in this town...
and as I drove through the faintly familiar roads today;
my heart, soul and mind remembered days gone by.
It was really a good drive.
It's o.k. to remember those days.
Smiles and Tears and Memories...
The last thing I did was walk around an old pond...it was the pond I fished in as a young girl.
There was a children's fishing tournament one Saturday morning--1975 to be exact--
I was 10 years old.
My little brother was competing.
I was bored.
So I picked up an old rod and reel, and began to cast.
I ended up winning that tournament...
I still laugh when I think of the faces of all those little boys when I received my trophies.
I won the category "most caught fish" and "biggest fish caught".
I can still hear the shrieks from me and my mother as I reeled those fish in...!!!
Today, I sat on the edge of that pond and looked into the water..
.there were a million fish swimming right up to the edge where I was sitting.
They were still there...35 years later.
As I stared into the water and saw the reflection of a 45 year old, middle-aged "child", I caught a slight glimpse of a small little girl with the future in her hands...
or maybe it was the glimpse of an old rod and reel....
I swirled my finger in the edge of the water and watched the fish swim swiftly away.
Oh, they'll be back...
and one day...
so will I.
As I drove around the base today, I took several pictures to savor the memories of a time I choose not to forget...
He knew Jesus.
The entrance to the military cemetary...something odd about that open gate...it seems so "final" once you walk inside.
Springtime doesn't close ...
I could almost hear the distant voices singing the old hymns of years gone by...what a joy to see this old church tucked away...but then again, what sadness that it's life was over.
Just a memory of an old, rugged cross...how sweet the sound of Amazing Grace.
I saw this old window on the side of the church building and thought of children peering inside the church during the old-time picnics. I could almost hear the laughter and shrills while they were playing a game of tag...boys chasing the girls with old toad frogs of course.
This old door was barracaded with vines, weeds and winds blowing in the distance. I looked at the outstretched vines coming through the walls of the door as if to say, "there's still life here"...
Reminds me of an old Haiku I am working on for class:
The summer river,
Although there is a bridge, my
horse goes through the water.
Seems a bit sad to me...
The reflection of the beautiful sky in the window pane reminds me that God built us a masterpiece to savor.
A tattered bridge that once was covered by soldiers footprints and combat boots. There are no more footprints on this bridge, but I remembered our Armed Forces still fighting so that "I"/"WE" can enjoy this beautiful country.
I loved the way God exposed this radiant beam of light into the threshold of this door. It was opened and closed so many times by people of another time. The radiant light still gives us hope.
The old walkway turned upsidedown...beautiful architecture...and that previously mentioned green color.
The old pond again...the bridge that leads to a tiny island with a lonely 'green' bench. Serenity.
Another view of the old church...notice the "green" cross. Like I said; everything was Green and White. A picture is worth a thousand words...
The end of a beautiful day...what a blessing.