See that red dot? That’s right about where I want to be this minute.
We made that drive at least three times a year from 1981 to 1999, and I get just as homesick for the Vicksburg, Mississippi Welcome Center as I do for that house on Collins Drive. They have good Cokes!
That red dot is about where the Alabama stretch of the trip gets interesting to me, and about where Mom and I always got punchy from driving all night without stopping. We’ve certainly had some unforgettable happenings. Not the least of which being the time a tire blew out and sent us careening into a ravine outside of Jackson, Mississippi.
Our car flipped three times before wrapping around a tree. I had been asleep, and woke up upside down with Mom calling my name from the backseat. We walked away from that one, and Grandma and Boom came to pick us up. We rode the rest of the way to Georgia in their Crown Vic, Boom driving, holding Mom’s hand, me in the backseat with my head on Grandma’s lap.
Every trip after that, we’d watch for the spot where we had skinned the shoulder and taken down a few trees, and we always stopped at a gas station just above the hotel where we had waited for Grandma and Boom to arrive.
I really miss making that trip, but there’s no one Home now. All my grandparents are gone, the houses are sold, and other people are building memories in the backyards where I grew up. That’s good. But, I still miss Home.
I was born the daughter of the Deep South lands
I have tar on my heels and red clay on my hands
Carolina, Bama, Georgia are home to me
Cut me and I’ll bleed out the Chatahootchie