Memories From My Mama

Murphy Henry

Last weekend my four sisters and I met, once again, in our old home place in Clarkesville, Ga., to finish cleaning out our parents’ house which is being sold. We had already had two divvying-ups of large furniture and some sentimental items, but there were still the precious old toys, baby clothes, books, picture albums, one-of-a-kind framed pictures, kitchenware, towels, quilts, Bibles, and Daddy’s Navy trunks to sort through and divide up. Along with boxes and boxes of papers. Mama and Daddy weren’t really pack rats, but living in the same house for over 60 years does result in quite an an accumulation of stuff.

One of the things we found was a “story” Mama wrote back in 1986, right before youngest sister Laurie was graduating from Medical School. I guess that event moved Mama to write down some of her “fav-o-rite” memories (as Merle Haggard said). The writing itself was so good, that I wanted to share the first part with you. If there is interest, perhaps I will post some more. Thanks for letting me share this with you.

Basic family outline: Five sisters, born two years apart. No brothers. I’m the oldest. Daddy was a small-town doctor, Mama was a stay-at-home Mom.

. . . . .


I Sat in the Garden

I sat in the garden
that has changed from dirt to grass to pebbles to flagstone
but still retains THE TREE
And saw the old picnic table
where so many food feasts occurred
from watermelon to cool aid and cookies
to real planned picnics with all the trimmings
The table grew old and deteriorated
But you grew strong and bright and beautiful
The treasured plants in the Hicks garden

Closing my eyes and letting memory run rampant
I saw other young plants that we loved and,
I hope, helped to nurture; Sharon, Melba, Bill,
Linda, Claudia, Becky, Mike, Danny, and another
Mike, Barbara, Bucky, Brad, Mark, Brian, Anne, Joe. And others like Gail and Martha, not often in this garden, because they were older....and Machelle and James, not often here because they were younger. They and their parents helped us nurture you. GOOD NEIGHBORS.

I wanted to write this down, so I went into the house for pen and paper.
I found them easily....exactly where I’d left them.
There are few pluses to a big empty house –and
I intend to accentuate the positive. Finding things where you left them is one of the pluses.

I have just finished setting out some plants.
I don’t have to find a plant apiece and a shovel apiece because this activity had suddenly become the focus of activity of five lively persons. I didn’t
have to guide the digging of five holes, the introduction of five plants into those holes, nor the putting and patting of soil back into the five plant beds.
I just planted and watered my plants.

I looked around the garden and it was littered with sticks, a few leaves, and a lot of those oak tree droppings that we refer to as “worms.”
and I suddenly envisioned a scene that was repeated so many times.
I am sweeping the garden and MANY decide to help.
I stop and find brooms: one toy broom that nobody really wants, two or three brooms that I cut off and make short from old brooms (and these will be kept and used later). Because my broom sweeps so well everybody wants it. I explain that we will take turns with my broom, and suddenly everybody is busy. I try to designate places and directions for sweeping, but everyone has her own idea about how to sweep a garden. There is much fun and flurry and excitement – and no progress! And soon you wander off and I am left to sweep the garden.
And if I occasionally get aggravated and yell, more times I acknowledge and affirm within my own heart that every effort and ounce of energy it take to organize and oversee and have fizzle out a job of this kind, it is worth it, and that I am, literally, enjoying every minute of it.



5 thoughts on “Memories From My Mama

  1. Martin Bacon

    Dear Murphy,

    A wonderful story and surely a song in the making. I count it an honor, although it was near the end of their lives, that I got to meet your mother and father. This is one vote for hearing the rest of the story.


  2. Janet

    This seems like a wonderful story and I am left wondering where it will go from here. Seems like the writing was definately passed down from your mama and possibly your daddy in your family. I too, would like to hear more of this story.

  3. Art Cole

    Murphy: Having known your parents, you,your sisters etal, I always am touched to read blogs remembering them. A few of the highlights in my memories of the Hicks family include: (a) your mom’s truly championship pound cakes during the holidays; (b) the friendship betweern the Hicks family and my wife’s family; (c) the caroling visits to my in-law’s home at Christmastime, (d) the goose-pimplied thrill of
    hearing Red & Murphy & Co, play at festivals years ago, as well as the intelligent and creative music of you and your family. I am now enjoying your instrucational banjo DVD’s. You can flat teach! I only wish I’d started years earlier. THANKS! Art Cole

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