Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7

Perfect weather, cloudless blue sky, many small boats heading across StAndrewsBay toward the Pass for 7-8 May Red Snapper season. 


A yellow boat testing Mercury motors racing past and will return momentarily. Yep, there it goes. I didn’t remember that they work on Saturdays.

May 7, 2016, my mother would have been 104 today. All our growing up years her birthday was intertwined with Mothers Day. I’ll wear a white flower tomorrow.

Stories of mothers, I remember having coffee with Judge John Grady Hodges on the porch of the lovely old historic Hodges home in Apalachicola. Up visiting from Tampa where he had moved long ago, John was 75 at the time and still “sitting on the bench” as he would say. His mother Alice St. Clair Parlin Hodges, a hundred years old, trotting out onto the porch to bring us fresh baked cookies and more coffee, and back again with warm cookies.

John had sung in the Trinity Church choir as a boy, along with Jack Cook, Mercer Spear and several other boys. It had been for show, and probably to get the boys into church: they had vested and processed in and out but been told strictly not to sing, just move the mouth. One of their church chores in the early days had included pumping the 1845 tracker organ, which if they are maintaining it properly is still in use.

A favorite Hodges family memory was from back in the, twenties I reckon, when the Hodges owned one of the early cars in town. Though she insisted on driving, Alice had a time with it, never mastered all the levers and pedals and movements and alertnesses necessary for reasonable control, and when she needed to stop would simply spot a convenient bush and roll into it.

We buried Alice in 1987 not long after that visit, and the Hodges stopped coming home to Apalachicola so frequently. Judge John died some years later, in Tampa, 1998 at age 86. The day his wife Mary Ruth brought his ashes up to Apalachicola, she and I drove out to the cemetery in light rain, me sitting in the back seat of their MB holding the urn and a small spade. She picked the spot he wanted, probably next to Alice’s grave. I dug a hole of respectable depth, and we left him there, covered with prayer and closed in the sod. 

Our years in Apalachicola, that family was especially special to me, I officiated their weddings, baptisms and funerals and loved them all dearly. Last time one of them I saw, he was the on duty ER physician at TMH when Linda, Kristen and I were there with Linda’s mother the August 2001 afternoon she collapsed from a stroke. I’d officiated the doctor’s marriage to a Hodges granddaughter, it was “catch up” time looking at pictures of the beautiful children that he tenderly called “the fruit of our love.”

Saturday morning, May 7, 2016, Happy Birthday, Mama.


love,
Bubba



Lauritzen Line's ship Dolce Vita 593' LOA x 105. Arriving to load wood pellets then bound for Tyne UK


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