Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Sunday, December 11, 2011

Campbell Clan reunion

     I am in SW Georgia today for the annual Campbell family Christmas reunion.  This tradition began decades ago when my grandparents, Carrie Mae and Ulmont Campbell, gathered all their children and grand-children together on Christmas night for supper and gift-giving.

On their 50th Anniversary


 My grandmother always had a chafing dish of melted cheese with a wreath of crackers encircling it to the side of  the large dining table where ham, turkey, bread, and numerous accompaniments waited.  On the buffet table sat various desserts.  Coconut cake, my grandfather's favorite, lemon-cheese cake (does anyone make this anymore?), divinity, pound cake, and goodness knows what else!
     After my grandparents died, the family kept the tradition alive over the years.  The family has grown, of course, with numerous great grandchildren, and great-great's!  Two women were missing this year, though--my aunts Carolyn and Mary, leaving my mother as  the surviving child of Carrie Mae and Ulmont Campbell.   I took these photos during the last Christmas reunion at which all three sisters were able to be together.

Carolyn Campbell Dixon, Bernice Campbell Stripling, and Mary Campbell Gunter
The traditonal melted cheese, surrounded by crackers and cakes.



The sisters share some family gossip!



My Aunt Carolyn left us at the end of last October, when the veil between worlds becomes so thin we might be able to see through to the other side, according to Celtic belief.   All Hallows, or Samhain as our Scots ancesters called it, is the Celtic New Year.


      This is the last photograph I have of my Aunt Mary, who was a black-haired beauty when she was young.  She always had a flair for wearing bright colors, as you can see from this turquoise tunic.  Her hair had turned a beautiful silver in her last years.  She died on our  traditional New Year's Eve last year.
         Although my poem below is set on All Hallow's Eve, it captures how I felt today at the Campbell reunion, remembering the faces of my gone family members.



                  Halloween Again 


and time slides like silk 
against silk.  
Easy to get lost 
in letting go 
this time of year. 
Lost letters.  
Lost  memories 
Lost copper 
earrings a  friend 
 gave me.  
Split Silk, 
I haven’t forgotten 
 the name 
of that church 
on the far side 
of home , 
how it rose 
from the roadside, 
 a hymn to the landscape 
I passed through 
 where pumpkins 
lay stacked beside fields 
 like the kindling 
my ancestors gathered 
for bonfires 
on All Hallows Eve 
when the veil 
between seen 
and unseen trembles 
sheer as silk 
through which 
we might, if 
we come close 
enough, see 
the other side 
waiting for us 
as a mirror waits 
to be filled 
with  the bright 
face of forever. 

from  Coming to Rest, LSU Press

5 comments:

Dicksy said...

I'm so glad Patsy sent out your link. I love the pictures of all three sisters! It is definitely a time gone past.

It was great to see you and Jim. I know it is a long ride for you two, but I'm glad he could come with you. I had such a good time and hope everyone did. Merry Christmas, Cuz!

Dicksy said...

I'm so glad Patsy sent out your link. I love the pictures of all three sisters! It is definitely a time gone past.

It was great to see you and Jim. I know it is a long ride for you two, but I'm glad he could come with you. I had such a good time and hope everyone did. Merry Christmas, Cuz!

cwdixon said...

I too was very glad to have you and Jim at the reunion. I enjoyed you blog and only regret is that Dicksy got to post her comment before I did, LOL! Appreciated your words about those dear sisters.

Vicki Lane said...

A lovely post and a beautiful poem, Kay. It has me missing my grandmothers and aunts -- back when they were the old ladies instead of me.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Wonderful family pictures. Reminds me of all the family reunions we had, some in Cairo where Mother's family lived.
I miss my aunts who were so much fun to be with. I hope one day my nieces will say that about me.