death, deep fried, deep south, Family, ga, georgia, grocery stores, hazelhurst, hazelhurst ga, hazelhurst georgia, life, loss, love, piggly wiggly, piggy, pigs, sharon cummings, south, southern, stores
I just returned from a trip to the town where I was born. I had not been this deep into South Georgia in over 30 years. It was startling to me just how little had changed. The Piggly Wiggly where I spent many gleeful moments with my Granny was still standing and looked exactly the same. The hospital still had it’s yellow brick exterior and had not grown. We drove around for hours just looking. A few things were gone, like some trees and the old Tastee-Freez. But Dairy Queen was still serving it’s frozen soft serve. Some places were closed, but no one was taking over. It was like a time warp. Even my grandmother’s home looked just like I remembered. I felt like I could just go in and she would be there sitting in her recliner ready to offer me some sweet tea. But alas, she is no longer there. In the span of 3 years right before I hit puberty, my family lost my Dad, my Uncle and my Granny. One family member per year. It was a tragedy that left my family devastated and since they all lived in and around each other, I had never gone back. The pain was just too great. Everything seems so backwards there, including the hushed whispers like “He married a black girl.” and “She’s gay you know.” Segregation is still alive and well and those parts of my visit were uncomfortable. I have Celiac disease and eating gluten free was a real challenge as there were very few restaurants and the ones available had “deep fried” in front of everything on the menu. When I got home to Tampa I did truly feel that I was “Back To The Future”…
But there was comfort in my visit with my cousin and his family. Their lives may seem simple compared to the cluttered city life I enjoy, but one basic thing remains: love.