Today, while cleaning my desk, I decided to tackle a grocery bag full of old files from my mother. We lost her several years ago, and I miss her, and think of her every day. She was such an amazing mom. She was a great example in so many ways. From the eyes of her only daughter, I watched and modeled her independent spirit, her strength and her me and my momunrelenting creative streak. In addition to all sorts of badass things like being a rancher and an adventurer, she could play the ukulele, twirl the baton, take amazing photographs, and entertain children with her own curiosity about the world around her. Despite having a degree from UT, she took classes at the local U as an adult in all kinds of photography, scientific drawing, botany and writing. So yesterday, I pulled one piece of printed writing titled, “Trip Log: March 2001 Trip To Florida.” It was 8 typed pages long. I tucked in. And after the first paragraph describing their rig, complete with kayaks and bicycles and a 5th Wheel, this struck me right away as both poetic and profound. As a daughter, I saw her has a mom. Now entering mid-life myself, I’m seeing her as a woman. She was smart, thoughtful, and damn she could write! Had we been the same age, we would have been fast friends.

At what age do we humans become aware of our surroundings? Today as we drove north from the arid brush country of South Texas into increasingly lush, green plains and the beginnings of East Texas woods, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of “coming home”.
In 1935 the Great Depression was still going strong. Daddy was working as a crew chief in the infant seismograph industry, glad of a job during the hard times. He and Mother met in Beeville, Texas, when his crew was in South Texas and he rented a room at Grampa Thornton’s boarding house. They married and were soon transferred east to the damp humidity of southern Louisiana and Mississippi. I was born in Houston, and my first three years were spent following the seismograph crew in the lowlands of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Is it possible, that at the age of 65, an inner part of me recognizes the country and accents of my early years?
Perhaps its just the moisture laden atmosphere with the attendant aromas of the lush green. Even my speech easily drops into the accents of the deep South. What fun, if this trip across the South, is a reunion with my roots !

The rest of the “log” described the places they stopped, the scenery and the people. She just had a way of learning people’s stories because she was genuinely interested and was the kind of person you wanted to talk to. The best kind of person…

…Manager Reta welcomed us, let us choose our waterfront location where we turned our trailer around to take advantage of the water view. Reta is a lively interesting woman; her appearance and quickness belie her 70 years. She grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, married, then raised five children on her own and later came to
Texas and went to work for the Nelsons. Very independent, she drives her truck and fifth-wheel to Wisconsin each summer to visit her children. She told us that she often stops overnight in parking lots behind Cracker Barrel Restaurants and was planning a short vacation over to Louisiana to check out some of the gambling casinos.
Texas could use more like Reta !

The whole 8 pages are filled with joyful and poignant observations. I read some of it to my husband and he said, “Just imagine if she had had a blog. She would have filled it with stories and photos.” Imagine. Yes, she would have. I could fill a book with her interesting essays! Someday, I just might do that. For now, I will keep slowly sorting and scanning my treasure trove.