I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in Possum Town, TN. Don’t try looking it up. It’s unincorporated, unfortunately. Anyway, my parents built a house across the field from my grandparents right before my sister was born. I was almost three when we moved in.
I used to spend the night at Goggin and Granddaddy’s house. Yes, my grandmother was called Goggin. Don’t be too jealous that you didn’t come up with it. I’ve always been something of an early riser. One of my favorite things was to sit with Goggin and Granddaddy on their front porch swing and watch the sun come up.
Sometimes in the fall, there would be a mist on the field, and you’d see cattle stirring in it. Sometimes you’d see deer running. As a kid, I used to try and copy the birds’ songs: the dove, bobwhite, and whippoorwill.
There was a peace and tranquility in those mornings that I haven’t been able to find now that I live in the city. My wife has always lived in the city, so she doesn’t completely understand what I mean because she doesn’t know what she’s missing. When I wake up now, all I see are big fences and other houses. No deer in my neighborhood. We have some doves though. I like hearing their call.
Now I think the prettiest bird is the red-winged blackbird. You’ll only find them down South in God’s country. Their name is appropriate: they are black birds, but their wings are a reddish-orange with a yellow line beneath to separate color from darkness.
I’ve always loved those birds. I felt they symbolized good people, who add a bit of color to an otherwise dark day. I try to be one of those people. Sometimes I succeed, but sometimes I don’t. I think God understands. He knows we’re going to mess up, but He wants us to keep trying.
When I feel that I just can’t do it, I remember those mornings with the sunrise and the mist. I remember the hope of a new day. I remember the red-winged blackbirds, and I try to be like them.
Peace. Love. Roll Tide.