as Anna and I waited to handle some business, I looked up to find I was three
seats away from someone from my childhood, Miss Nell Baggett. After sharing hugs
and catching up, I knew that this week’s column would be dedicated to her. When
my family moved here to “the country” from Atlanta in 1964, Luanne Baggett
became my first friend. I was five years old, she four. If I’m remembering
correctly, the Baggett’s had once lived in the house that would soon be my
family’s forever home. As I grew, my friendship with Luanne and older sister
Leila grew as well and I spent many days and nights with them. What with the
passel of Baggett kids, there was always plenty of fun and trouble to get into.
I can remember in the earlier years all us kids piling around the TV in the
living room and falling asleep on the wooden floor, being carried to bed by Miss
Nell or Mr. Roy. I remember sleeping three to a bed with one sister or another,
with two more beds full of sisters in the same bedroom. I remember those beds
being so high I could barely climb up onto them. Their house was located near
the railroad tracks and trains often startled me awake while they all slept on
peacefully and I’d cry to go home to mama and my own pillow. They never got
upset with me and I was always invited back again the next week. I loved being
in the midst of this big family. I remember sharing baths and bathwater with
several sisters as sometimes during the hot, dry Georgia summers well water was
a precious commodity. I had my first taste of home-churned butter (nothing like
it today!), peanut butter fudge and pickled okra. There were watermelons and
homemade ice cream in the summertime; swimming in Leguin Mill, under the old
bridge, sliding down the moss covered rocks into the cold water below; Drinking
RC’s with peanuts mixed in. These experiences taught me a lot about what it
meant to be a country girl.
these things now takes me right back to that red dirt road, to that farm where
everyone knew about hard work, down to the littlest Baggett. I remember well,
riding on the tailgate of the pickup, through many acres and rows of crops. Who
would’ve thought that picking beans could be fun? My sister Nancy and I often
reminisce about times spent with the Baggett’s, her with the older sisters, me
with the younger.
years as so often happens, life took us all in different directions and we lost
touch. Still, every time I see the pickled okra on the shelf in Ingles, or when
I make peanut butter fudge at Christmas, I go right back in time to those days
and nights spent with the Baggett family.
They are some
of the happiest memories of my life. Thank you, Miss Nell, for letting me be a
part of your family. I love you always.