Sunday, June 26, 2011

Goodbye For Now

I’m parked on the side of the road on my way to the Jackson airport.  I really didn’t want to come to Greenwood and wouldn’t have if not to make this film.  There isn’t a Starbucks here or a Sephora.  There’s no Target, no place to get a good wax or even a movie theater.

Today is my last day here and I keep catching myself trying to come up with reasons not to leave.  I know somehow that Greenwood is not finished with me.

As I sit by the side of the road, parked next to a sea of green that stretches as far as the eye can see – I have to admit what has always been true…this is what I came here to find – a place to belong.  Greenwood will always be a part of the dense tapestry of my life.  I neither understood nor appreciated it before – but it has called me home.

I can’t describe how conflicted I feel about leaving here.

I remember when I was a kid I thought the name “Greenwood” sounded so lame.  It sounded country and backwards.  But it’s perfect.  There really is no other appropriate name for this emerald forest.  It feels like someone tucked it away from the noise of the malls and the brightness of big city lights.  Finding it requires intention.

I regret not appreciating my Greenwood heritage before.  I feel so grateful that now my eyes can see the beauty of these lush hills that are so green and so vibrant that they radiate life.

Driving along these roads is an experience.  They are so narrow and the trees that line them are so tall that they seem to touch the sky.  It feels like these dense trees are momentarily parting to make a way for me to pass.  I keep looking into my rearview mirror to see if I can catch them coming together again. 

There is magic here.


  1. Love the dateline special just wondering why so little mentioned about Mrs.Mildred Wright?

  2. Oh, honey.....the Delta sings a sirene song to all of us who were born there or have family there we visited. She is a temptress who woos us back to a simpler yet more complicated time. I was a child caught in the middle of desegregation. Overnight I was changed from a little girl going to 5th grade in her little town's white school to a private school student who wasn't sure how to fit in. Fear and ignorance ruled the days of desegregation. I still do not understand why I could play with children of color after school, but could not learn beside them in a classroom.
    I love my Delta home and heritage. I love my families, yes, plural. There were and are many I still love and those I miss because they have gone on. Yes, I was expected to treat ALL adults with respect. Color did not matter. When my little town was blown away by the tornado in '71, color was not an issue in helping the ones in need. Hunger knew no color and shelter was given without hesitation. Maybe we were different because Inverness is so small. Maybe I am foolish to be sentimental over the people I worked along side cleaning our home as well as my grandparents. I don't think so. Their names are etched in my heart....John and Myrtis Taylor, Ned Frank (NF) and Sapphire Parker, Edgar and Josephine Harvey, Alex Jennings and all of his children who were my friends.....The list goes on and on. With each funeral, I cry as I remember my childhood shaped by these loving people who shared their lives with my family. Maybe, in part, it was the attitudes of my grandparents and parents who taught me to ignore color and see hearts that makes the Delta special to me. Maybe it's because I had no say in what would happen to me when desegregation hit us all full in the face. Maybe it was our God in Heaven who wanted us all to realize that HE made each of us and we all bleed red blood. I hate to hear of the violence that I was shielded from as a child, but it is a part of our history and like a bad penny in a family, it is something we must all come to see face to face. I want to hear that you solve the murder of your grandfather. I want you to answer the questions you have for ALL of us. Yes, there are people who will oppose you and those who will misunderstand. You aren't looking just for justice, but for a deeper understanding of the times and just what did happen to your precious ancestor. I have enjoyed many a meal at Lusco's. I don't remember Mr. Booker, but my parents do and my grandparents did. He was loved by them. I was just enthralled by the curtained booths and delicious onion rings. I pray you find the answers. I pray for your safety. The men responsible will see their judgement day. Bless you, child. I look forward to hearing about what you find.
    Beth Stowers Callahan