birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Heart & Hand

I had three.

My Mom’s mother died giving birth to her. Two of her sisters quickly stepped in and took over the mothering role. Their names were Callie and Lillie, and they taught me about living on and loving the land....about storytelling, baking biscuits during the hot Mississippi summers in a wood burning stove, and about the grace in which we love and live. I spent time in the summers watching them sweep their yard. I spent time in the cool of the evenings listen to their homemade stories and their handwritten songs. I learned to love the small print calico fabrics of their long hand sewn cotton dresses.

They taught me to fetch water from the well, and I can still taste and smell it today...some sixty years later. They blessed my heart, hands, and my life in colors of a journey that made me who I am.

My Dad’s mother, Abbie, taught me how to survive and thrive, how to find my strengths and even more so, how to use them successfully. Drinking sweet tea on her screened in porch on hot sultry summer days, she taught me to tat and crochet. She enabled me to understand that I could be strong, supportive to my family, and accomplish my desires. She shared stories of the Great Depression, and how she alone fed her family through the work of her heart and hands, selling fine laces to the wealthy women in Central Mississippi. She taught me to cook when as a child of 11, my Mom went to work full-time and I was responsible after school for taking care of my younger brother and sister and providing the evening meal when our parents returned home.

I learned well. How blessed am I, that I should have such strong footprints on my heart and hands.

My Two Grandmothers