murderer in the backyard

i know i tend to be fairly dramatic, but sometimes life gives me good reason.

like these past couple of days, where a MURDERER has been lurking in my grandparent’s backyard.

YES.

A MURDERER.

in north augusta, my eventual thanksgiving location, a man walked into a huddle house (a.k.a. the other white waffle house) and demanded the wallet of a family friend of my grandparents. the friend said no, and the man shot him, killed him, and then shot the preacher who was also there. he’d already shot someone else in the area.

he ran, and was Hiding Out On My Grandparent’s Property.

i may have mentioned before that my grandparents have a farm with horses on it. large portions of it have been bought up so a highway can be built through the middle of it, which is sad, because it’s a quaint and beautiful place. but my mema and papa are hardworking people who hit their financial peak long ago and need this…

anyway, sheriffs and bloodhounds tracked the killer’s footprints up to my uncle’s home, which is a refurbished barn behind my grandparents house, and then to the horse supply shed between the two homes. the po-po have been scouring the property, all up in the woods, and haven’t found the killer, who is armed. its possible he’s being helped by the mentally ill neighbor across the street, whose claim to fame thus far has been flaunting middle fingers while yelling nasty things at folks as they drive by…

tomorrow we head down for the big meal. it promises to be interesting, as all the menfolk have spent the past couple days watching t.v. with shotguns on their laps. i am always telling my grandmother in particular not to live in fear, so this blows all that to hell. it also blows to hell my youthful debates with my grandfather on the danger of keeping hunting rifles in the home; these are my beloved white southern christian relatives, for whom hunting is a childhood sport and adult hobby. they are good people, godfearing people, who have slowly but overwhelmingly come to embrace their black grandchildren, and not in a yucky Bush-embracing-’hispanic’-relatives-ish way.

i spent the day safe with my sisters in columbia. we went to see the opening night of rent, which is always an emotional experience of art for me. i cried like a baby, thinking of all the people i love who are living with hiv, and trying to think of ways to incorporate that work back into what i’m doing these days, as its still the work of my heart. 

this time with my sisters is deep – i am sitting back and listening to them, and its good. they are growing up and they are hilarious and strong. i have so much to tell them but so far nothing important is coming out of my mouth, sometimes that happens with family. i am so happy to be around them, i don’t want to bring into this place some of the life i’ve been living of late. it strikes me that i am depressed, having a low moment, but having acknowledged that…it seems less important than just soaking them up.

my sister april lives with this tiny sweet southern woman who also happens to be a 40-year-old active duty soldier who served in iraq and loves bush. the house is decorated with lots of flowers and quilts and wall hangings that say ‘home is where the army sends you’. the roommate, who is not actually staying here while we’re here, seemed very sweet when we met her. she’s in school with april this year getting a masters in media. my sister april teaches me so much about looking beneath the external markers of a person to value their life experiences, to see so much of what i take so seriously (a person’s politics) as merely an outward show of engaging in the world, the meat not the marrow. she teaches me to choose my battles, and choose my tactics with more care.

i keep meaning to write brief missives and coming out with long posts here…not sure why. the wind is pressing up all around the house and i’m inside and warm and sleepy. tomorrow i’ll go where killers tread stealing this land years ago and where killers tread now. my roots go into red and white soil, this dirtiest kind of south, where loved ones await me.

i was really looking forward to stuffing my face with homecooked food till a misguided friend grabbed my arm and told me i was plump, which made me lose my appetite. i had no idea!! hopefully my mind can recover from this stunning expose on the state of my body. i will only be able to give true thanks if my appetite comes back before the sweet potato souffle with crushed pecan crust is served…

wish me luck! and hey molly :)

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