Snowmageddon 2018


There is a funny thing that happens when snow is on the ground for more than 2 hours in Alabama and it only gets weirder as the hours, and days wear on. It snowed Tuesday, this is Friday morning and there is still snow on the ground, on the sidewalks, and on the roads. There are still patches of ice here and there. How utterly strange! Time sort of slows down here. Offices, stores, schools, restaurants, and even UNA closes. People quite literally cannot travel by car so even I got out and walked if I wanted to go somewhere.

I’ve never had a snow week quite like the one we just experienced. It feels much like the breaks we got in college. A week or two with little obligation and responsibility; no professors asking us to do anything, lectures to go to, or anything else really. I worked from home on the things I needed to keep up with. Carl got to play in his first real snow. I played a little too even though snow is not really my thing. I think I won’t be able to think about snow or snow days the same way ever again. In college I would break out the trashy novels, a puzzle, and some Netflix something or other I wanted to catch up with. This last week I did some of that but I also got to spend it with the people in my little family and it was kind of amazing. I learned how to play cribbage. I sat on the floor and watched The Little Mermaid with Carl just because he asked me to. I cleaned out the plastic container mess under my cabinets. Faith rearranged our messy guest room to something that looks almost entirely presentable. Carl has gotten to play all the games his little heart can stand including some very competitive rounds of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. He trash talks when he plays that game. A two year old. Trash Talks! It is the weirdest thing.


Life goes by so very quickly. The best gift from our benevolent maker is a week like this. A week out of time where we are forced to slow down, to self examine, to make do with the groceries in our pantry, to rediscover the people we live and interact with. There will always be work. There will always be this or that social obligation. The gym will still be there when you can actually get out on the roads again (I know because I made it all the way back to the Y again yesterday and I guess I will get my butt up and go today as well.). Target was still standing as well when I checked yesterday. The knowledge I’ve gained this week, the precious experiences I will carry with me, the mental picture of snowflakes falling on people I truly care about will be something I can look back on when life is busier and crazier and just not as much fun.



Adventures in Mississippi

Life is easy to get caught up in. This last Sunday my brother and I, from separate locations and both after a day of work had to drive to Jackson, MS to speak to the Parole Board. That isn’t something I ever envisioned myself doing but I did it. Jackson, MS is kind of the worst as far as I could tell from my less than 24 hours there. It was really just a sad, ugly sort of place and it smelled like urine much the way Decatur smells like cat food. I’ll not be back there if I can help it. I’ve never had to appear before such a panel before and I really didn’t know exactly what to expect. In case you missed this bit of my family drama, my father was murdered right before Carl was born and now I periodically get sucked into the never ending legal saga that has since ensued. This particular board was comprised of five older people. The youngest was probably no less than 45, the oldest may have been 70. I had prepared a statement which I didn’t end up needing, as well as all the paperwork I have on the man who murdered two people, my father and another woman almost three years ago. I printed pictures out in case I thought they weren’t understanding the loss of life. I printed articles from the paper at the time of the initial arrests because no one I talked to previously was familiar with the crime. None of that was needed. My brother and I had barely opened our mouths before we were reassured that Mr. Meeks won’t be getting out of prison until he goes to trial for murder. When that will happen is anyone’s guess but he has at least two more years to serve on his previous sentence.

It is a special sort of terrifying to me that this man, who murdered two people, stole upwards of $2000 and some property has yet to be tried for any of those crimes. The only reason he isn’t out on the streets to harass and harm others is a violation of parole. During this ill fated trip my debit card was hacked at a gas station. That pretty much sums it up.

This is the statement I prepared.


In January of 2015 my brother, an aspiring preacher at the time, and my sister who was trying to get on with a local manufacturing plant and I all got together and drove from our then home of Florence, AL to Corinth, MS. Our purpose that day was to pick up our father and take him for a nice lunch for his 50th birthday. Archie Wayne Williams, our dad, had lived a hard life and you could see it in the lines on his face, the teeth he was missing and even in the smile that he would frequently show you. He was tired, but not yet defeated by life in the way that some people get if life keeps knocking them down. Dad’s birthday was January 3 and in Corinth when he was born there was a lot of hope that he would be a New Years baby. He wasn’t a New Years baby but my Nana loved him just the same. It was on this day that we would meet Mr. Meeks for the first time. My father was living in a home that had been passed down in our family at this time and had generously offered to let Mr. Meeks stay with him there. It was my understanding that Mr. Meeks had just been in some trouble with the law and my dad was trying to give him a break. My father was no stranger to breaking laws. He spent most of his 20s and 30s doing just that so I believe he just wanted this young man to have a chance to learn from his mistakes and do better than he had himself.

My siblings and I spoke with Mr. Meeks that day and while none of us were happy with the arrangement there seemed to be little we could do to end it. We did discourage our father to end his ties with this man because we were worried about what might happen to an older man left to the whims of a young, strong, and possibility volatile housemate and eventually either through our persuasion or time Mr. Meeks seemed to fade from our conversations with dad. Barely three months later Mr. Meeks reentered our world in the worst possible way. April 4, 2015 is burned into my brain. I was nine months pregnant and excited about all the things going on in my life then. My husband had taken me to see a movie and I’d only had to get up once for a bathroom break which was a big deal at that stage. As we were leaving the movie theater I got a phone call from my brother. Fortunately, I was sitting down in the car when he had to relay to me that our father had been murdered.

My relationship with my father had never been easy, but we had moved past so many previous hurts that I couldn’t imagine my brother was serious. He had to be wrong. It felt like a nightmare. How could this happen? You never imagine that this will happen to someone you know. My dad had just started a relationship with a woman, the first serious relationship since my mom years earlier and they had barely been living together for two weeks. Once I recovered from my initial shock I had to relay the news to my sister. I pray that if anything ever happens to my mom it is peaceful and she gets to leave this life with dignity. My father was not afforded either of those things. His death was violent. His death was horrifying. He was shot in the head and left to rot for days before a friend found him and his girlfriend.

In the days that would follow we were introduced to so many new and fresh horrors that I couldn’t begin to relay them to you. Searching through the house where my father was murdered for any of his possessions. Finding his wallet with a dollar, an ID card, and some pictures from our childhood was so incredibly hard. Sitting down at a funeral home while my baby kicked inside me and discussing what options we could afford in terms of funerals. Knowing that we couldn’t afford all that dad might have wanted, even what we could afford was taken out of our meager savings and the rest we would spend months paying off. My siblings and I planned a memorial service which my brother preached the sermon for. Mr. Meeks was caught in Littleville, AL with a stolen vehicle and a gun that most likely was used to murder two people. We watched in horror as this story was plastered on every news outlet around, and when that faded into obscurity we have watched and waited for the day when Mr. Meeks will have to answer for the crimes he committed. My father gave Mr. Meeks a chance to do better, to be better and it cost him not only his life, but the life a woman he cared about. I ask that the state of Mississippi not give Mr. Meeks another chance to cause such irreparable harm.  

Some thoughts on school choice

When I was four years old I went to preschool. We called it headstart but basically it was the same thing. In fact I did two years of preschool, I think because of where my birthday fell on the kindergarten cut off, but that was over 20 years ago so my memories are fuzzy. I did not fail preschool if that’s what you are thinking. I remember it was fun for the most part. There were the normal amount of issues arising from the beginnings of realizing how awkward forced groups can be. However, I loved the big foam blocks and a few friends I accumulated. There was even a pageant and a fluffy white dress. I won something from it but I don’t think I won first place. I’m pretty sure that went to the girl with the bigger budget for a nicer dress. Anyway, it was all pretty normal except that my mom would teach me at home how to count and how to read.

I went on to Kindergarten which was an ok experience but I already knew how to read, phonetically, not with sight words. I could count well past 100 and color in the lines so there was little for me to learn there. I was well behaved unless there was a prospect of going to the dentist. I meandered through. I had a kindergarten boyfriend who’s cousin alternately said mean things about me and planned our pretend wedding. I think it was probably a normal experience. I remember the DARE speaker and school lunches.

I was in the gifted program in 1st grade which meant that I got pulled out of class periodically for gifted classes. That was probably the only thing that saved my first grade experience. The first grade teacher made no secret that she hated me for pretty much everything I did. She continually asked me questions in hopes I wouldn’t be able to spell the word or solve the math question. The only time I ever got in trouble for anything in school that I can remember aside from the time I punched a bully in the balls for telling my friend Barney had died, was when I finished a spelling test faster than she thought I should have, which is absurd because basically she meant that I was writing each answer too quickly as she said the words. She kept admonishing me to take more time to spell each word and I just kept spelling them on my paper as she would announce them. This was 20 years ago but I can still remember the moment she made me go pull a stick for spelling too fast. I was humiliated. My whole world revolved around learning and knowing things and being a good girl who did what was expected the best that I could.

In my gifted classes that behavior was praised and rewarded but back in my first grade classroom anything out of the standard of my teachers idea of normal was looked down on, verbally abused or punished in whatever creative way she could come up with without involving anyone outside the classroom, like my mother who would have blown a gasket had she known how awful that woman was. My mother did know to a degree and she did have many a confrontation with that teacher. To add in more issues I was sick. I missed 64 days of Kindergarten due to respiratory illnesses. I was in and out of the hospital most of Kindergarten. I don’t remember if it was as bad in first grade but I never got behind. I would do the work at home and work in the Abeka workbooks my mom provided. By the end of my first grade year I hated going to school. I loved to learn. Thankfully the teachers assistant and my gifted teacher had nurtured my love of learning where my first grade teacher attempted to quash it but I hated school. Two or three weeks into my second grade year my mom pulled me out along with my brother who had just started kindergarten.

We joined a co-op, used Abeka for the first few years and set out to learn all there was to learn. I was reading well above my grade level and steadily developing math sense I wish my cousins had now. I realize homeschooling isn’t for everyone. In fact I would venture to say it isn’t for the majority, but I am ever thankful my mom decided it was for us. I love to learn even now. I like to think I’m not particularly socially awkward. I’ve been successful in my chosen profession. What people fail to realize about homeschooling is that it doesn’t have to be an isolated or isolating experience. You can homeschool anywhere including on an impromptu trip to the zoo or the grand canyon. There are so many curriculum choices now and co-op options and support systems that my mom didn’t have. Something I can still appreciate about this country, when I am pretty ashamed of it otherwise, is the right to choose what sort of education our children receive. Thanks mom.