Precious memories

Published 10:00 am Sunday, July 2, 2023

Our home’s structure soaks in a lot of music due to the fact that music is an integral part of the Andings’ lives. Othel and I see it — music — as one of God’s most powerful and delightful gifts. 

Othel is always searching for new artists that produce melodies and harmonies that we enjoy. “Brothers of the Heart” is one of the latest groups that we’ve discovered that take harmony to a new level.

“Precious Memories” is one of their songs that not only hi-lights harmony; it is a harvester of memories. Each time I listen to it I recall those memories that time has logged into my brain, and those kinds of memories aren’t the kind that have wings and “fly away.”

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Summers in Mississippi hold lots of heat and humidity. We felt both those growing up on my parents’ Etta hill. I remember the days before Daddy had the A/C unit mounted at the end of our home. Those were days of the attic and window fans. They were capable of stirring a breeze during the heat of the day, but it wasn’t a cooling breeze. Nighttime was when the window fan got to bring real relief.

All windows were raised so the draft from the churning fan could bring in the cooler, night air. Early night still carried a bit of the afternoon heat, but from midnight to morning, the window fan brought in a breeze that called for more than a sheet for cover. I also remember that the night air brought in a dampness from the falling dew and saturating humidity. It wasn’t until we were blessed with air conditioning that I learned morning covers don’t have to be damp.

If the window fan wasn’t strong enough in the July and August heat, we had the portable fans. The oscillating type covered an entire room, but until it made its return loop of cooling air, the heat was always on instant standby. I remember another fan — the oversized metal fan that worked so hard it would motor itself across the room if we didn’t situate it on a thick rug. It was a miracle that we didn’t lose a finger or nose to those giant blades because we loved singing or yelling into its whirling blades. The resulting vibrating sounds were entertainment to us kids.

Today’s generation would be entertained just imagining how that could possibly entertain a child. Even with explanations, they wouldn’t understand. Those were simpler days spent mostly at home minus the rigorous summer schedules of today’s world. Sports were mainly associated with professional teams and were never a threat to long summer days, going barefoot through the woods and wading in the spring-fed stream behind our home.

Summer heat was a “given,” so it never interrupted the joys we experienced growing up on a rural hilltop. It seemed to me that God always knew the perfect time to send a summer-soaking downpour or shower. Both would cool the air and provide relief just when we seemed to need it most.

Precious memories, how they linger … and how I am grateful.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.