George Smith: ‘Carry me back, Lord, while I still have the time’
Sep 30, 2012 | 2656 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It is quiet out on Arrow, shadows from a sun setting just behind a hill across from the house are turning early gloaming into darkening shadows.

The blonde is off somewhere — most likely Dillard’s — but will be home in a little while.

From the open window behind me, the stereo is playing ...

“Carry me back, Lord, while I’ve still got the time ...”

The Statler Brothers — I’ve got most of their “stuff” — knew we love nostalgia and got rich singing it to us ...

“Does the preacher still visit,

“When some poor soul gets down?”

“Do the stores still open,

“On Fridays downtown?”

Next door, Oscar is pulling his garbage down to the street. Back up the driveway, he waves. I wave back. Oscar and Frances were our first neighbors, already here when we moved in.

Further down the street and across the way, the Ziglers are sitting, side by side, just outside their carport door. They got here after we did, but not all that long.

Fact is, seems they — like the Robertsons — have been here forever.

Neighborhoods ...

Watching the occasional car whisper by, I wave. A few wave back and I think ...

Air conditioning ...

Air conditioning did two things to the South. It wiped out front porches and brought Yankees South to stay.

I know I’ve mentioned that before, but as the years tick by, you find yourself plagiarizing yourself, mainly because you really don’t have all that much to say anymore. Besides, impressing you with my cleverness can be rewarding.

All in all, our street has held up pretty good. The homes are all of The Great American Dream, three-bedroom brick, carport, paved driveway. And while the original “settlers” out here probably remember “drawing water from the well,” we don’t do that now.

There’s a water meter in each front yard, a gas meter on the end of each house, power lines to the eaves.

But our block has some “second” faces.

A bachelor moved in across the street a few months back. He’s not home much, is quiet when he is, doesn’t play loud music. Leon, oldest of the Zigler kids, and his wife once lived there.

Also across the street, where Bunky and Linda Wright once lived, there is a new renter (I’m told). Bunky’s dead and Linda, I think, is now living in Birmingham. The new neighbors are never home.

Next door, on my left, is Joyce Culy, a retired WAC from somewhere up in the Midwest. She drives a black pickup, has a three-legged cat and loves to play golf.

She also has a magnolia tree in her front yard and she hates magnolia trees. The reason I know that is the blonde once asked for a few limbs and was told “You can cut the whole d---n thing down for all I care.”

I can’t blame her hate for magnolia trees on being from “up there” because I hate magnolia trees myself.

By now, the shadows out on the street are moving to purple and the tint of fall I could see earlier, well, I’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow.

Anyway, the phone just rang. It was the blonde ...

“I’m so ticked off I could just about die ... I’ll be there in about 20 minutes.”

I get up, go inside, and re-cue The Statlers ...

“Carry me back and make me feel at home,

“Let me cling to those memories that won’t let me alone ...”

If you’re wondering where this is going, well, you’ve already been there ... haven’t you?


George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email:

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