Thursday, January 31, 2008

A G.R.I.T.S. - And Damn Proud Of It!

Yesterday, ThiThi and I took a roadtrip to Dandridge to visit with Dad and Fris. (Just call us Thelma and Louise). Actually, ThiThi had to work on their computer and I tagged along, but we ended up having a really nice afternoon. Everytime I go to Dandridge I am taken back to the summers of my childhood and filled with nostalgia.

You see, I was born in Jefferson Memorial Hospital on April 1, 1968. We lived in Dandridge from the time I was born until I was 3. Then we moved to Lakeland, Florida, where I lived until I was 22. After we moved to Florida, we could always count on seeing Nana and Poppy's Volkswagon sitting in our driveway on the last day of school. They would drive south to pick us up and bring us home, to Dandridge, for the summer. For the most part our summers were spent just killing time and trying to stay out of our Nana's hair. I remember we would always pester Nana for a dollar and when she would give in we would walk downtown to Tinsley Bible to get a coke at the fountain. Then we would wander around downtown, going to the library, rummaging through Gass's 5 & 10, climbing to the top of the dike, or walking through the Civil War cemetary. You would think we would have gotten tired of this ritual but we did it almost daily.

Oh, but that wasn't all we did during the summer. We would play dress up in the old clothes in Nana's basement; sit under the apple tree in the front yard listening for the buzz of dirtbikes (that meant the boys were coming ~ Poppy said their dirtbikes sounded like a bumblebee in a fruit jar); watch our stories (soap operas) with Nana; go to the Maury ball field at night; catch fireflies and put them in a mason jar for a nightlight; and plunder through the old timey dresser in our room, looking at its jewels like they were treasures we had never seen.

The most memorable thing we did in the summers, though, was going to church. Probably because it was the only time we were able to interact with kids that weren't cousins. We went to First Baptist, but not the new one - oh no - the old one. I can still remember the smell of the old Sunday School building. It was a musty anticeptic smell. Kinda like a moldly hospital, I guess. Nonetheless, I loved that old church. We went every Sunday for Sunday School and Church. There was no such thing as "Children's Church" back then. We sat in the sanctuary with Nana, Dad and Fris and listened to Preacher McCray recite his sermon. I, also, loved Bible School; it was always so much fun. We would play games on the hillside and have our kool-aid and cookies for snack. I guess it is no surprise that I was baptised in that old church and have never moved my membership. Every church I go to just doesn't feel like home, even First Baptist in Dandridge. Since they moved to the new building, it just isn't the same.

Well, back to yesterday, when ThiThi finished working on the computer Dad, Fris, ThiThi and I went to Tinsley Bible for lunch. Dad and ThiThi had slaw dogs (a tradition) and Fris and I had the Bible burgers. Then we all had fried apple pies with ice cream for dessert. It was strange sitting in the old drug store eating the familiar food. We told stories and reminisced about summers and Nana and Poppy and "the good 'ole days". Daddy told stories about his childhood and Fris had a few of her own. Then we walked down the block and went through an antique store (I swear Nana had most of that crap in her house). It was nice walking the streets of downtown again. As we passed the courthouse, I could almost see my Poppy sitting on the bench out back talking to all of his old buddies (all of which are no longer with us). I felt like I had come home again.


Thi Thi said...

The past is so nice to visit... but it makes me miss the people who live there now.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for this in-depth memoir of Dandridge! If you go back to right around the time of my Dandridge post you can see a little gem I picked up at the Tinsley-Bible. Enjoy your blogging!