Flashback Friday: 1987

Published 9:07 pm Monday, July 31, 2017

While it’s Friday July 28, 2017, and I will be in LaGrange tonight in plenty of time to see the sun set over the downtown fountain, my heart says it’s not 2017 at all.

It’s late summer 1987, and our whole family is headed home to see Grandma.

We are headed to the land flowing with red Georgia clay decorated with mile-high pine trees.

We will be at Vicksburg and the grand ol’ Mississippi River by noon, and that now young-looking driver will be quoting Huck Finn, musing poetically to the delight of the family, “The river looked miles and miles across.”

When we hit the Georgia line, the rearw view mirror will give a view of a western sky stirred together with a classic mixture of orange and blue and gray. We will not want to disappoint the Georgia line nor the kids, so we’ll offer a spirited version of Ray Charles’ “Georgia” the moment we get to the other side of the Chattahoochee River.

We’ll be sliding into LaGrange with a few red embers still shining in the otherwise darkened western sky. And by the time the last red ember gives way to a shining star, we’ll be pulling into Grandma’s driveway.

We’ll meet Grandma at her back door and she’ll hug us each for a hundred years; and we’ll sit right down at the table to the best “Welcome Home” celebration you can imagine.

The kids will get a head-start and take their princely places at the table, while we unload the car.

We will all commune until Grandma retires; and after the baths and unpacking, we all will follow suit, too, until the next morning’s sun jumps up at the smell of coffee, bacon and eggs, and homemade Grandma biscuits.

Sleepy-eyed, we’ll all make our way into Grandma’s kitchen, thank the good Lord together for such a time as this, then soak up every ounce of Georgia sunshine until the table is cleared and the dishes washed.

Then, after breakfast, I think we’ll introduce Grandma – and Mama, too – to the grandkids, and we’ll all stroll together down the golden street and sit awhile and commune by the tall pines that look out over the river.

Down by that fountain, you know I won’t be able to help myself from bursting out with Ray Charles’ “Georgia” to the kids’ clear, unbridled delight.

Steve Bowen is a former Granger who lives and writes in Red Oak, Texas.