Her knees bent forward away from the worn-out rocker then she begins to lift her massive body, her legs shook trying to become steady. She made a wrinkled brow while looking out the window at the garden filled with spring flowers. Everything dies she thought; soon the fragrance of spring will be gone.
She narrows her eyes looking into the hedgerow at the end of her flowerbed to see if the sparrow hawks had returned, slowly she turns keeping contact with the old rocking chair, holding onto its arms. After one-hundred wonderful and heartbreaking springs, her soul still feeds upon the emotions of the sweet-scented honeysuckle growing around her front porch.
Holding her breath she falls back into the chair, it shudders under her weight. She knows not to take being able to stand for granted. Closing her eyes to rest, bible in hand, and her thoughts were none other than upon another spring. Maybe!
Love and Peace
Author’s Note: Aunt Francis as she told me to call her lived on this earth over 100 years. Born in 1865 was the daughter of slaves. She always thought herself as being watched over by the Angels, her mother and father were never sold, they were still together at the end of the War.
Her given name was Sarah Francis, her parents owners were Hunnicutt’s of Winston County, Alabama. She came into my life when I was six years old. My daddy needed someone to watch over my great-grandmother and me while he was in the cotton fields, he was a sharecropper. My mother worked in town and she would come home after we were all in bed and she would be gone before most of us got up.
Aunt Francis was a very old woman when she came to live with us. Daddy had gone to the cotton gin in Priceville, Alabama, pulling a trailer of cotton with his tractor. When he returned in the trailer where the cotton once lay was Aunt Francis sitting in her old rocking chair. Beside her a huge trunk which held all of her worldly belongings. She lived in a little one room rustic shack that use to be a storage shed near our house. Our house which was three shotgun rooms with front and back porch, it was no more than a “tar paper” shack. The entire house was covered with a wrap siding that looked like brick. Fake brick!
My mother was very unhappy with the situation. She disliked Ma as we called my daddy’s grandmother, living with us, Ma was a full-blooded Native American, Chickasaw. In my mother’s own words “Now I have to put up with two old women. Daddy sometimes would say to me, “You know Hun, your mama believes she married beneath her upbringing”, I would be much older when I understood the implications of what he said. I also felt bad for my mother she had made the mistake of marrying my daddy. To me he was one of the most strong, kind, dark, handsome men I would ever know.
Therefore, I grew up learning how to act, live and survive; these lessons came from my daddy, Ma and Aunt Francis. I was a young woman when I lost both of these wonderful women. Ma along with my daddy had given me full knowledge of “The Ways” of their people, the nobility and strength. Aunt Francis gave me the meaning of life and how to survive, she also, gave me graciousness, and how a young woman should act. I doubt that I have lived up to their expectations of me, but I have tried.
When I returned to Alabama to attend the funeral of Aunt Francis, it had to be one of the darkest days in my life. My daddy had taken care of her until the day she died. She moved into town when daddy left the farm, he rented her a place and paid her rent. He gave her spending money and brought groceries from a list she always had prepared for him. My heart aches at the thought of how much she meant to me and my daddy.
Later in life I painted a picture of Aunt Francis in Acrylics, I wanted her to be young and alive. I have the picture today. Then much later I begin to write poetry, naturally the picture created “Another Spring for Aunt Francis”. She did get one more spring after that last one, and I have to smile at remembering her huge body walking across the creaky boards of that old tarpaper shack. The long dress covered with a starched white apron. Most of all I remember her hugs and kisses, she loved me and I loved… still love her.