“She was twice blessed, she was happy and she knew it.”
The sign on the Selma water tower says, “History and Hospitality,” and we got both today with the extraordinary kids, teachers, and librarian wonder, Becky Nichols, gathered at the Selma Dallas County Public Library and then later a walk through the Live Oak Cemetery dripping with Spanish moss on the magnolia trees. We also displayed Lucy’s original art pages, and the kids loved her page of the Spanish moss illustration, which was shaped from an old green sweater she’d unraveled to hang from the trees created with real bark. She was inspired by the way Charlie Lucas grew up seeing art in everything, and that gave her the so many ideas about how to illustrate Nothing Fancy About Kathryn & Charlie.
New South Books writes:
A man’s lifelong love of books and reading overcomes the hurt of a childhood humiliation in this touching true tale related by Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham on the occasion of the Selma Public Library’s 100th anniversary. As a child in the 1930s, Ernest Dawson loved books but was denied use of the library in segregated Selma. He grew up and became a teacher, and after segregation had ended, he left money in his will toward a children’s wing of the Selma library so that children of all races could read and learn.
Anyway, it felt good to be in that very same library with the kids making trees and telling stories. One boy made a tree with rope swing over a blue water. Another sculpted a grove of palm trees. A girl made a purple peach tree, and one of the teachers shaped an orange tree in the middle of town with a sturdy ladder so the kids could climb up it and pick one each day, and another artist’s weeping willow exploded with puzzle pieces.
At the end of the workshop, Olive made her appearance, too, and once she’d received plenty of love from the kids and at least three librarians, we made a trip to Hancock’s Barbecue, which was so delicious – tangy barbecue, ribs, cole slow, fried apple sticks (a new experience – more like fried applesauce) and onion rings with plenty of sweet tea. Becky told us Kathryn would definitely approve of a trip to Hancock’s. 🙂
Then we visited the Live Oak Cemetery and just before we found Kathryn’s grave, a redbird flew over my head, and I just felt her close by. It’s been a long time since I’ve walked around a cemetery, but it felt so peaceful being there with my girls after the workshop and an afternoon of art with the kids. The skies kept threatening rain, but the clouds only hung heavy with shafts of sunlight sparking up Selma at dusk. Then we took the winding roads back to Birmingham listening to Patsy Cline.
Oh, one more thing, the Rexall Drug sign reminds me of visiting Leavenworth, Kansas where my grandparents lived and paid many visits to Rexall Drugs, since that store seemed to carry just about everything back in the day or so it seemed to me as a child.
It’s going to be an early morning with more stories tomorrow from Gadsden, Alabama 🙂