Precious Memories

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Just after church Sunday, and after the surprise “non-sermon” by our new youth minister, I hurried home, quickly threw on my work clothes and began preparations for feeding about a dozen folks. I stood behind the kitchen counter, my hands dripping in the egg wash that is the secret to my famous crispy fried okra, thinking about young Jonathan’s quite brilliant “talk” which he delivered in the unexpected absence of the pastor at Sharpsburg Baptist Church. He warned that he might be stirring up something much as Paul did when defining the role of “The Church” in early Christian history, but far from stirring up trouble or dissent, his message was a breath of fresh air–which is often true when we allow young people a pulpit where they might express their beliefs.
Now, do not take what I just said to suggest that any kid who grabs a microphone has something to say. Hardly. But some are certainly worth hearing out. Young Jonathan Crum is one such voice. An exciting voice. He reminded us that “We the People,” saved by the blood, the grace of Christ Jesus, are The Church, and that our duties are simple and twofold. One: to spread the Gospel message. (Matt 24:14) Two: to care for the widows and the orphans of our community, of the world. (1 James 1:27). Simple.
So, then I passed the Fried Okra around like fancy hors d’oeuvres, and with the help of my sous chef sister, Deb and I invited the crowd to fill their plates from the piles of fried chicken, Italian green beans, potato salad, creamy slaw, deviled eggs, juicy sliced garden tomatoes, and fresh corn on the cob, (from our friends Jody and Michael Couch at the Hwy 16/85 Saturday Market). The family could, and did, help themselves to buttered rolls or corn bread!
I loved listening to the crowd at my dining table– talking over one another, telling taller tales than the one next to them, or talking over the two sitting across the table, not to be rude, just excited to share and not even noticing that there is another conversation going on somewhere in the air above them!
Memorial Day turned into a mini family reunion when I called my sister in Auburn and then my brother in South Carolina and invited them over for the long weekend. No preparations had been made for this visit except putting freshly ironed pillow cases on the beds upstairs and changing the towels out in the bathrooms when they agreed to come on such short notice. As sometimes happens, it was a most wonderful occasion.
Our grandsons stopped in; one bringing his special girlfriend, another on his way home from work, and of course we were pleased to see our granddaughter light with us for a while before the lure of her new driver’s license “drove” her to a friend’s house for the afternoon.  Carter and Ryan have just successfully completed their freshmen years at Georgia Tech and Middle Georgia College respectfully. What a nice sound. Successfully/Respectfully. They are exceptionally good boys and hard workers. And according to their new employer, exceptionally polite and well-mannered! Nothing to sneeze at in this day and age. I will here sneak in a Big Congratulations to my daughter who is quite deserving. Both the young men are summer employees at the new café in Peachtree City called “Big Shots” right next door to the indoor gun range “On Target.”
Bill and I treated my sister to lunch at the new cafe on Saturday and were very, very impressed with Everything there. The menu was a pleasant change, the South African influence of its owners, who also own and operate “The Georgia Shrimp Company,” was obvious in everything from offerings of Lamb Chops to the delicious She Crab Soup “spiked” with sherry. Just the right flavor note for this seasoned epicurean! My sophisticated palate also love, loved! The Caesars Salad with nice (visible!) shavings of parmesan cheese, and the delicious ground brisket Hamburger with yummy fries. I hear their Peri-Peri Chicken is really good, as is the “Bunny Chow,” an Indian lamb curry. I will try the Garlic and Fennel Shrimp (prawn-sized, I have also heard) and the Crab Cakes next time. I’ll just dine on Starters!  Lovely ambience, perfect patio, nice bar, and the servers are terrific! Anywhooo, try it yourselves. I will look for your reviews.
One of the sweetest things this Memorial Day weekend brought was the unexpected gift of a large Digital Picture Frame which was loaded with pictures of my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Many were once soldiers, sailors, marines. Some photographs that I do not ever remember seeing, but which my older daughter Kim must have scanned and digitalized from my Mom’s old picture books six or seven years ago, about the time of Mom’s death. Now if you think I had a dry eye throughout any of that entire presentation, you are dead wrong.
Memories. Sometimes hard to deal with, like the Memorial Wall that was on the corner of Seavy and Main and presented by the Senoia Area Society. Each personal note posted and each poppy, a life. A life given to insure the freedom and security of this country. Someone known to this community. Not a stranger. No. A son, a father, brother, cousin, a sister.
The parade, speeches, the concert by the military band, and finally the fireworks…none daunted by the rainy weather…were just wonderful. Many thanks to the tireless efforts of the DDA and all the others who helped make possible another wonderful Memorial Day in Senoia! A reminder of the debt we owe lives cut short. Though this was not a celebration—it was a Thanksgiving. Amen.

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