All Roads Lead to Tucker

on March 7, 2011 in All Roads Lead to Tucker Georgia

Squash Blossom

Long ago I left my small-town Tucker and moved to prominent Dunwoody, Georgia. My husband, Jim, had George Bramlett build my dream house, a spacious Cape Cod, on fourteen acres which was adjacent to more than two hundred acres of family owned, Pounds-Spruill property. My family and I enjoyed this equestrian domain, all the while convenient to Perimeter Mall and specialty shops, a perfect world to rear our two sons.

Although all seemed perfect in a perfect world, one night I laid in bed, longing for the simplicity of my sweet hometown, Tucker. I had had enough of “the good life.” My bubble of happiness in a perfect world had burst. It was over. And there I lay, with hot tear stained cheeks. I unplugged my phone and covered my head. I was at the end of my rope.

You see, I had a problem too big to handle. I lost all hope and felt as helpless and alone as ever I could be. How could this happen, with a lovely home, horses and barns, cars and trucks, beautiful meadows and big woods to walk through all the way to the Chattahoochee River? I had no answers, only a disturbing reality to face – the look of constant overwhelming despair in the eyes of my sixteen year old son.

Lois and Wade Voyles - "Memi and PawPaw"

Lois and Wade Voyles – “Memi and PawPaw”

I closed my eyes and longed for sleep. Relief, I must have some relief. I found it, in my dreams that night. I found myself driving my car down Main Street – Tucker. I drove slowly past Cofer Brothers. I stopped as always at the railroad crossing and proceeded with caution. I drove past Matthew’s Cafeteria. The traffic light caught me before I could cross Lawrenceville Highway. The light changed and turned green, giving me the okay to continue my journey. I drove down Idlewood Road, and turned right into my Memi and PawPaw’s drive-way. I put my car into park and opened the door.

I was delighted to see Memi and PawPaw standing on their front screened-in porch, already on their feet in anticipation to our visit. PawPaw stood and waited for me in the coolness of the far corner of the porch, while Memi stood in the doorway leading into the house, both smiling and happy to see me. I took my time as I strolled past Memi’s zinnias, and took a moment to admire the blossoms on PawPaw’s apple trees and snowball bushes. I made my way up the three steps and opened the screened porch-door.

Suddenly I heard someone behind me. I turned to see who it was, and was met with two little arms reaching for my neck. It was my son – at age five. I bent over and joyfully received his hug and heard him whisper, ‘Mommy, I love you,’ in my ear. I savored that unexpected moment for as long as I could. He pulled away from me and looked as though he wanted me to examine his face. I peered deeply into his eyes. Gone was the depression. There lived only the complete and total joy of a five year old.

I stood up and turned excitedly toward my grandparents, “Look who’s here!” But for some reason, my Memi and PawPaw refused to respond. They seemed preoccupied in their own thoughts – far away. I spoke to them directly, but still, they refused to speak. Their faraway gaze was frozen.

Curiously, I turned to my small son, but he was gone. He had disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. He was nowhere to be found. I called out for him as I searched the apple trees, the rope swing in the backyard, as well as the vegetable garden. I even called out to Mr. and Mrs. Westbrooks, trusted long time neighbors. I saw Mrs. Westbrooks pouring milk into the cat dish outside her backdoor. Mr. Westbrooks was busy tending to his tomato and pepper garden.

“Have you seen a little boy running around here?”

Neither acknowledged my call.

“Hello! Mr. and Mrs. Westbrooks! Have you seen my son?”

Again, I received no acknowledgment from either one. I searched the Westbrooks’ Muscadine arbor, but to no avail. My son was not there. I walked around to the other side of my grandparent’s house and saw Mrs. Almand playing with her two granddaughters, Cheryl and Carol Williams.

“Mrs. Almand! Hello! Have you seen a little boy out here today?”

Garden toolshed now in a deteriated state

Garden tool shed now in a deteriorated state

Mrs. Almand and her granddaughters continued to play their game of ring-around-the-roses, and completely ignored me. This was strange. These neighbors were always so quick to throw up a hand and give you a smile, but not today. Everyone seemed to be in their own world and I was invisible to them.

When I turned around, I saw something I had missed before, something I had not seen since my own childhood. There set my Memi’s dining room table and chairs under the coolness of the shade trees in the backyard. The table was set with china and loaded down with food ready for the whole family to share a meal – together. In the center of the table was a six layer stack of Memi’s apple pies; pies made from PawPaw’s apple trees. Ham and chicken were surrounded by her pickled peaches and spiced apples. PawPaw’s snowballs graced the table. I realized that the whole family was expected, but where were they? And where was my son?

I turned and went down a path in my Memi and PawPaw’s vegetable garden. I made my way through the pole beans and squash blossoms. He must be in their little garden tool shed, but no, he wasn’t there. As I walked back to my grandparent’s house, I noticed the tree swing empty and being pushed about idly by the wind. I came to the realization that my little boy was gone. Indeed, he was not the little five year old who so easily expressed his feelings.

Now he was approaching adulthood and struggling hard to find a reason to exist.

I awoke the next morning renewed and rested – back in my Cape Cod home in Dunwoody – ready to face the present world. I thought about my dream – my unexpected visit to Tucker. I realized that my Memi and PawPaw had given me a gift, a much needed gift, a heartfelt hug from my son. It was a gift that reminded me of just who my son really was and is. A gift I will cherish all the days of my life, especially in the difficult days just around the corner. It was a time when I discovered All Roads Lead to Tucker.

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