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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

in another country

An hour and a half south of Atlanta and the road side changes.  The landscape opens outwards towards a distant tree line.  In an instant it falls inwardly upon itself. A choked flash of clay creek bed.  We have been in the car for most of the day.  The children are curled up, drifting in and out, beneath one of our travel blankets.  We press on deeper, the v8 hitting both the dusk and the cotton fields at seemingly the same moment.  A flurry of cotton and the hedge rows look as if covered by snow.  The tatty remnants of harvest strewn across an Alabama road.

The children have a campfire in the pine woods between the house and the lake.  We watch as they shapeshift between explorers, mermaids,  Indian trackers.  The adults busy themselves with buttered and salted pecans from a relatives orchard out near the highway.  Miles away from the warm chestnuts out of the brazier in Trastevere the week before but equally as fulfilling.   There is talk of  the upcoming Alabama vs Auburn game and the size of alligators in the lake.  This,  followed by the briniest of oysters from Apalachicola, and  a dense black bottom pie.

Visits to South Alabama always have me leaving with a head full of moments that hardly seem real at the time. Becoming stranger still as they ferment.  This time it's  one about B.B. asking a leisure suited Gerald Ford to hike the football while in the oval office.  A throwback to Mr. Ford's days at Michigan no doubt.  Apparently the snap wasn't to B.B's liking and he had the president re-do until he got it right.

At night we read the children the Nick Adams Stories.  With a bit of on the fly editing,  the "Indian Camp" piece has them squealing.  A small respite before we begin the forceful stride towards Christmas and the year end. 


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