Fish Cooker Flashbacks…

11 Jun

My hometown is a little map dot in South Alabama.  I went there this weekend for a fish fry, and as usual my trips back there serve as a type of therapy for me if you will.  I love leaving the interstate and driving the last hundred miles of two lane roads enjoying the scenery of pastures with horses and cattle.  Even the occasional tractor driver that backs up traffic isn’t all that annoying!  The small town atmosphere keeps me grounded and helps provide perspective and gives the comfort of family, roots, tradition, all the things that make up the fiber of who we become as adults.  Going there also affords the comfort of sameness.  I count on visiting and things being basically the same through the years, and that’s how it is.  A new store may come or go or a restaurant might open or close, but other than that things stay the same and I like it that way.    I did not expect this trip to be much different from all my others but for some reason this trip was filled with much emotion.  I am not a writer like my sister and niece, but since I’ve created this blog to share my house renovation story and recipes and home decorating ideas, I am going to use the platform to share my feelings about this weekend in my hometown.  You’ve heard the saying ‘Nothing like a melody to bring back a memory’, well that is true and certainly does happen.  However, for me this weekend, my transport device was not a song but an old fish cooker.  I got to my Dad’s house and walked out under the car port where the fish cooker was set up and immediately I was flooded with memories.  It was like an old reel to reel film of my youth was playing out.  I was back at fish frys we’d had at our house and at my uncle’s house through the years – all of us cousins running around playing as kids.  We have cooked a lot of fish, hushpuppies, not to mention mountain oysters, in that very fish cooker.  Cool September nights we’d boil peanuts in it when the green peanuts were fresh from harvest.  Such great times, simple gatherings with friends and family, usually accompanied by a few people pulling out guitars and playing songs which we fondly called ‘Pickin’ and Grinnin’.  This weekend’s fish fry was added to my collection of great times and memories with my family there in that beautiful small town in Alabama.  Part of my trips there are always spent with my Dad and step mom, then the other part of the trip includes going to visit my Mother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing facility.  Obviously this is a difficult and sad thing to endure, watching your Mother suffer from this awful disease.  She has not known me for a long time now and the visits usually are limited to me talking about things going on in my life and pretty much rambling on to myself and hoping that something might sink in and she might at least recognize my voice even if she can’t respond to it.  Since my sister was also at the fish fry this weekend, we went out to visit her together.  She was being brought back from the dining room by the wonderful CNAs that so lovingly take care of her and situated back in her room so that we could visit with her.  When we walked in to hug her and tell her we loved her, she registered a second of recognition when she looked at me.  It wasn’t just hopeful thinking on my part – my sister saw it too and we both knew that for that moment she knew me.  Recognition reached a shaky hand through the curtain of Alzheimer’s and somehow her brain managed to send a  charge and connect a synapse and triggered that memory!  If you ever begin to wonder if your visits to a loved one with Alzheimer’s does any good since they don’t seem to know you’re there, do it, just go and visit and do it and just maybe sometimes they’ll get something and you’ll be rewarded with the precious gift of recognition that I received for a split second with my Mom this weekend.  The trip was very emotional, the fish fry was great (the best catfish I’ve ever had!) and it was all worth driving through five hours of monsoon rains and lightning storms as I returned home last night.

2 Responses to “Fish Cooker Flashbacks…”

  1. Kim Williamson June 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    What a lovely post today. I am so happy you had that moment with your precious mother who remains a beauty despite the cruelty of her illness. It sounds as if you had a great trip “home.” xo k

    • asoutherngirlsguideto June 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Thank you, that’s sweet of you to say. It is always good to be there. Wish I could have seen you too, but hopefully next time!

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