Close to Nowhere
I first met my neighbors Carolyn and Johnny King before we even moved down here to the wilds of Mississippi. We were clearing space on our new acreage to put a house. Carolyn and Johnny drove past, stopped to talk and compare our experiences with theirs (they’d done the same thing a couple years before).
They’ve been wonderful neighbors and friends. For years, we’d often go to Laws Hill Fish House, when Clif and Jean Edlin ran it. We’d sit in the back corner, eat well and talk long.
Carolyn had this fantastic green thumb. I stopped to visit one time while she was outside potting dogwood trees for her grandmother. It was our first winter out in the middle of nowhere and I was delighted at the thought of dogwood trees, so I asked Carolyn to pot me some for planting in my “back yard.” She just laughed and said when spring got here, if I wanted dogwood trees, she’d see that I got some.
Well, come spring our entire acreage was covered with the most beautiful white flowering dogwoods I’d ever seen. Carolyn laughed and reminded me that if I needed some more just let her know.
The first of October, 1986, our first year here, I answered a classified ad in The South Reporter for a typist and Carolyn and my history took another twining. I’d been working at the paper maybe two weeks and then editor Walter Webb asked if I knew anyone who might want to work a couple days a week stuffing inserts into the newspaper. I asked Carolyn; she thought she might enjoy it, so we had another link.
Previous to moving to Mississippi, Carolyn had been in a serious car wreck. Her head hit the windshield and shattered her forehead and skull.
She and Johnny had many stories about the year or so that it took her to recover. Johnny took care of her, cooking and cleaning and helping her learn to put the pieces of her life back together. I didn’t know them then, but listening to their stories and feeling the love and laughter in the back side of the stories let everyone who knew them know they had a strong bond of love and friendship. They took very good care of each other and always ended phone conversations with “I love you.” They hugged and kissed and laughed and loved each other and their life together.
Johnny has retired from several places and now works in Olive Branch. Carolyn worked at The South Reporter, mostly every Tuesday and Wednesday, sorting the Pigeon Roost News and The South Reporter into the right mail sacks and stuffing inserts into the papers.
Like any good family, we like to eat at work and we enjoy birthday lunches and holiday meals together. And we all have favorite foods that we like. Carolyn made this orangy, apricoty Jello dessert with marshmallows that took her two days. We always asked for it in plenty of time to get that dessert/salad for whatever meal we were having.
I’ve been desperately looking for the recipe. I know Carolyn has given it to me probably 10 or more times.
Carolyn had been suffering a long time with back and leg pain and other physical ailments. Dec. 31, 2018, Carolyn lost the battle and went home to Heaven. The next birthday lunch we have I need to make Carolyn’s specialty.
Johnny, family, friends, church family and her work family – we’re all devastated and grief-stricken.
Johnny has to find a way to get on with his life – without his constant companion.
Knowing Carolyn, she’s scouting out Heaven, finding the best spot for her gardening, etc. She’s making sure Johnny will be comfortable and at home when he gets there.