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Hill Country Living

Column Deadline Comes An Hour Early

Due to a couple of, oh shall we say, past mishaps I have an alarm on my phone that goes off at 7 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. It’s really loud and flashes the word “column!!!!!” over and over, followed by about a hundred exclamation points. Because I am at my parents’ house in Georgia right now, 7 a.m. is actually 6 a.m. in Mississippi. So I just hit snooze on my column alarm six times over the course of an hour. 


All this to say, I dreamed that my weekly assignment was not to write a “column!!!!!!” but to paint a massive painting for the paper, which David would then photograph, shrink down, and put on Page 4 where my column goes. I was really stressed out in my dream because I was on deadline and the painting was about 100 feet long and 30 feet high and I wasn’t sure why the original needed to be so large. The painting was of some lovely pastel mountains. 


Now that my coffee is kicking in, I’m realizing its concept was so visually related to The Water Valley Wave in
Pocket Park that I borderlined on copyright infringement. Anyway, the task of writing a 500 word column seems much less daunting now that the 100 foot mural assignment proved to be only a nightmare. 


This was supposed to be a Wagner Letter week but I accidentally left my Wagner Letters in Water Valley. Thank goodness my mom has her own collection of letters she found in an old house in Georgia! Yes, finding family letters from the 1800s is apparently a recurring theme in my family. This is the Leonard family from Talbot County, Georgia. 


Daughter Ella is telling sister Mattie about their father’s new wife-to-be who they despise and who just left him. Like me, she has a dream.

Macon Ga

March 29th, 1877

Dear Mattie, 

I have just rec’d your valued letter & it was certainly a gratification to hear from you as any solicitude  to hear more about the “Lipscombe” affair was very great. Pa has written to me twice in regard to it, am truly glad that he takes it so philosophically. I was real sick with neuralgia in my head & eyes when I first rec’d Pa’s letter bearing the tidings. 


I never rec’d such a shock in my life. I cried so much for a day or two that it caused me to suffer more than I would have. Now that it is all over I am real glad that she left as no doubt Pa will be much happier without her. Words fail me when I attempt to express myself in regard to her meaness. I dreamed last night that I had my hands on her throat choking her to death; if I could only get my hands there I would feel tempted to have my dream come true.

Just to think after we enamored to take her to our hearts as we did and Pa doing everything in his power to render her satisfied she should act so disgracefully thereby giving notoriety to our name. I’ve heard from several sources that she left because Pa did not have things fixed up sufficiently nice for her. Surely no good can come to her after acting as she has. 


My fervent prayer is that she may suffer all of the tortures that a guilty conscience can produce.

I suffered excruciatingly at my last monthly period. Mr. L was afraid to let the Dr. give me anything to produce relief as he thought I was not quite as symmetrical as usual. We are still in a quandary, hardly know how to act. I am feeling very well with the exception of my eyes pain me some. 


Was sorry to hear of the baby’s sickness, am fearful you made yourself worse tending to him. Love to all & a kiss to Lizzie,

Aft. Ella


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