I am 18 and wearing a wedding dress

by Sheila Colston

weddingI am 18, and wearing a wedding dress.

I am clutching a two dollar bouquet and wondering if I am messing up big time. My Momma comes in the bedroom and gives me “the look”. I know for sure that “the talk” is finally coming. I think, “Oh, me, I probably know more than she does.”

To put it off, I fix my makeup. Finally, I turn to Momma and ask, “What, Momma?” Very seriously, looking me straight in the eyes, she

Momma and Me

Momma and Me

says,“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” Then, she hurries out the door.

 I think often of that statement she made. I ended up doing lots of things I didn’t want to do. That’s the life of being a wife and mother. I know Momma did many things she didn’t want to do also.

 I believe she meant that to be a statement about the physical relationship between a husband and wife. I prefer now to take it as a statement about the whole of life. Nowadays, I don’t do much that I don’t want to do, but life has changed a lot.  So have MommaI. Momma often said, “I am 70 years old. I can say and do whatever I want. Nobody is gonna hold a kid over my head and nobody is going to make me do anything. If I can live this long, I reserve the right to do and say anything and get by with it.”

My marriage was a mistake. I did get a beautiful family out of it, however flawed they are. Some of their flaws are endearing, as are the flaws Momma had. She had many, admittedly, but as she grew older those flaws became precious and make for good story telling. Her advice was often sideways, a little twisted, given in a southern code that only we family members knew how to decipher. In her day, one did not say the word “pregnant.” They said “In the family way” or “expecting.” God forbid anyone said the word “sex” out loud!! Life would have changed in an instant, and whoever said it would have had to have stitches.hiding

 People did not tell everything in those days. Family secrets remained secret. Kids hid behind doors or sat on the stairs, eavesdropping, to find out why so- in -so was in trouble. It makes some of our family history somewhat distorted, because we tell it the way we heard it.

Kids know too much these days. The so called wisdom they have is, in my opinion, too much. You don’t see many kids on bikes, hair flying and smiles on their faces. If you do see a kid outside, they have something in their hand to play or text. You have to watch carefully so you won’t run over them, because they never look up from their phones.  They can’t spell or do math. Everything is IDK, LOL, or LMAO.  Uh, folks, spellingthat’s not spelling.

 We studied our spelling words as if Jesus was handing out the grades. We sat at the kitchen table and tried to figure out why algebra had letters and what to do with them. (I never figured that one out.) We spent weeks on science projects. We played in the woods, eating muscadines and sucking the nectar out of wild honeysuckle. We brought home berries and Momma made pies, even if it was just a handful. We captured turtles and snakes and collected pretty rocks. We rode horses and bikes. We sometimes did our homework while sitting in a tree. Our Momma called us home by whistling through her fists, a trick not many people know these days. If you can do it, you are probably over 45 years old, at the very least.timesarechangin

Dylan was right when he sang in his nasal twang that “the times, they are a changing.” It’s not always for the better. I suggest going for walks in the woods with your kids or grand kids. Have them put their own worm on the hook and pull in a catfish. Make some memories other than what someone said on a text or how you won a computer game.

 Life is too short to spend it looking at a screen. Look at birds, look at the sky, look at each other. Eat a baloney sandwich on the river bank without washing your hands. Build a fire and roast a marshmallow til it’s burnt black, then eat it anyway.You will have  stories to tell one day, and you will have some precious memories of even the difficult times.

And once in a while, thank God for the parents you have, or have had, and the old fashioned things they taught you. Give your  children and grandchildren the same gift.

 Oh, and if you spend some time outside, they might be able to tell the difference between a pine tree and a cedar tree.

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Melissa Wilson May 12, 2014 - 9:48 am

Great stuff! Keep these stories coming!!!

Nancy May 12, 2014 - 4:13 pm

Thank you so much Shelia for sharing.. This is very true..

Darlene Green May 12, 2014 - 11:55 am

Loved it, well spoken, good advice and heart warming!

grandmama1 May 12, 2014 - 3:47 pm

This is a wonderful story and so true of our lives growing up. Its a wonderful thing to have a family you can enjoy doing things with instead of buying things to keep them busy and out of your hair. Cant wait for your next story!

Ellen McGowen May 12, 2014 - 3:59 pm

Enjoyed every word!!!

james howard May 12, 2014 - 4:07 pm

good to read something that i can relate too!!!

Sheila D. Wood May 12, 2014 - 6:34 pm

Perfect story….perfect life…even with the bumps! They are what make us strong …I’m so proud of you for “going to print”! Can’t wait to see what is next! Love you! S D W

Teresa Festa May 12, 2014 - 7:01 pm

Beautiful, Sheila!

Belinda May 12, 2014 - 8:56 pm

As always, an awesome story told by an awesome person! Keep ’em coming

Diane Lawson May 12, 2014 - 9:21 pm

Loved it !! Can’t wait for your next story!!

Sheila Hill Colston May 13, 2014 - 6:42 am

Thanks, all!! Love to all!

Debbie Borden May 13, 2014 - 7:35 am

Sheila, PRICELESS!! I enjoyed reading your story. It brought back memories of my own. I can relate to being 18 and being in a wedding dress. Except my “wedding dress” was orange and I was “In the family way.” Keep your stories coming….we all enjoy them so much.

Valerie thigpen May 13, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Love it Sheila!

Anita Olbon May 13, 2014 - 8:45 pm

You go girl! Revive our great memories! Maybe it will inspire folks to make some of their own.

Vel Morrison Orsborn March 12, 2015 - 11:13 am

My grand kids start rolling their eyes when I start with back before cell phones…

Sheila Hill Colston March 12, 2015 - 12:43 pm

mine too!


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