Friday, May 12, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #273

Nancy White Kelly

Buddy has picked his share of cotton. In his youth, he plowed unending delta miles. These weren’t sky miles. For Buddy, his unceremonious view on most days was nothing more than the two humps of a Mississippi mule. Schooling wasn’t a priority for most farm boys following the depression.

Opposites do attract. I wanted to be an English teacher. My daddy wanted me to be a lawyer. I scored high enough on a job entry test out of high school that the company wanted to hire me on the spot, assuring me that nobody had ever scored higher. At the tender age of seventeen, that was an ego booster. I never considered myself smart. This job offer was in an elite field that I know now I would have hated. After much deliberation, I decided to stick to my goal of attending college. I envisioned marrying later, perhaps to a college professor or minister.

Buddy graduated in the bottom half of a class of twelve, at least he says so. He lived with convicts part of his early teen years. His father was a corrections officer at Parchman, one of the toughest prisons known at that time.

After high school, Buddy joined the navy rather than be drafted. He spend four years on a naval destroyer, distilling water in inhumane heat, longing for the green, green grass of America. The day he signed out was one of the happiest days of his life.

Unfortunately, the money he had sent ahead for schooling wasn’t there when he arrived home from the service. It was probably the biggest disappointment of his life. With borrowed money, he headed to Florida and worked his way through Emory School of Aviation washing dishes.

Buddy was employed as an aviation mechanic for Eastern Airlines when we met in church one Sunday. The rest is history…forty-one years of it so far.

Buddy and I are a compromise of life-styles. I enjoy books. He likes engines. I enjoy theatre. He endures it.

No shot-gun adorns the back windshield of Buddy’s truck, but he can use one if necessary. My little pistol suits me just fine. I carry it in a case, just in case.

We are equally proud of our southern heritage, mine Tennessee, his Mississippi, our’s Georgia. We don’t need a fifty-foot Confederate flag to confirm it. Instead, we fly the American flag in our front yard.

Buddy is a God-fearing, hard-working, gentleman who loves his family and neighbors. Ditto for me, except that I am a lady.

We are probably more alike now than when we started out. We both can relate to the last verse of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.”

“I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

One thing I am sure of. The smartest thing I ever did was marry that country boy.

No comments: