Southern Stories From the Porch Swing by Janet Morris Belvin
In the space of little more than five or six years, the world lost Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Clarabell the Clown and my mother. All those people were important to my growing up, but, of course, only my mother was real to me. Still, the realization that they were no longer on this earth changed me somehow. I realized, finally, that time was not infinite. Time is the one thing I've never had enough of. Ever since I was a small child, I've been conscious of how quickly time passes and have wanted to slow it down somehow. Of course I never found out how to do it, but it's worried me nonetheless. About the only way I have found to hold on to time is to write down my thoughts. So I began keeping a journal when I was fourteen. Of course I didn't call it a journal back then. It was "Dear Diary." My mother subscribed to Ladies' Home Journal and that January, the magazine gave away a free mini-datebook for the New Year. Mama said I could have it so I began sporadically recording my thoughts and activities. Some of the entries I now find laughable or embarrassing. I was a middle school kid after all. But that diary set me on a path of recording the events of my life that I have followed for many decades since then. The paragraphs in this book grew out of that idea. In the years since I began writing in my journal, I've experienced the pain and exhilaration when three tiny newborns drew their first breath and cried for the first time. And I've wept at my mother's bedside when she gasped her final breath. In all the years I have lived, I have experienced the full gamut of emotions – from great joy, to great sorrow. I have laughed and I have cried. But throughout it all, I have been thankful to God for life and all of its blessings. I hope I haven't wasted it.