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This One’s for You, Miss Nell

 

Pam Ward

Humor Columnist

  Last Thursday as Anna and I waited to handle some business, I looked up to find I was three seats away from someone from my childhood, Miss Nell Baggett. After sharing hugs and catching up, I knew that this week’s column would be dedicated to her. When my family moved here to “the country” from Atlanta in 1964, Luanne Baggett became my first friend. I was five years old, she four. If I’m remembering correctly, the Baggett’s had once lived in the house that would soon be my family’s forever home. As I grew, my friendship with Luanne and older sister Leila grew as well and I spent many days and nights with them. What with the passel of Baggett kids, there was always plenty of fun and trouble to get into. I can remember in the earlier years all us kids piling around the TV in the living room and falling asleep on the wooden floor, being carried to bed by Miss Nell or Mr. Roy. I remember sleeping three to a bed with one sister or another, with two more beds full of sisters in the same bedroom. I remember those beds being so high I could barely climb up onto them. Their house was located near the railroad tracks and trains often startled me awake while they all slept on peacefully and I’d cry to go home to mama and my own pillow. They never got upset with me and I was always invited back again the next week. I loved being in the midst of this big family. I remember sharing baths and bathwater with several sisters as sometimes during the hot, dry Georgia summers well water was a precious commodity. I had my first taste of home-churned butter (nothing like it today!), peanut butter fudge and pickled okra. There were watermelons and homemade ice cream in the summertime; swimming in Leguin Mill, under the old bridge, sliding down the moss covered rocks into the cold water below;  Drinking RC’s with peanuts mixed in. These experiences taught me a lot about what it meant to be a country girl.

  Remembering these things now takes me right back to that red dirt road, to that farm where everyone knew about hard work, down to the littlest Baggett. I remember well, riding on the tailgate of the pickup, through many acres and rows of crops. Who would’ve thought that picking beans could be fun? My sister Nancy and I often reminisce about times spent with the Baggett’s, her with the older sisters, me with the younger.

  Over the years as so often happens, life took us all in different directions and we lost touch. Still, every time I see the pickled okra on the shelf in Ingles, or when I make peanut butter fudge at Christmas, I go right back in time to those days and nights spent with the Baggett family.

  They are some of the happiest memories of my life. Thank you, Miss Nell, for letting me be a part of your family. I love you always.

 

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