Look. This a Lunacy. So I need to at least attempt some humor here. I will likely fail. This is really just about a pie safe, though. Bear with me okay?
My mom was a Baptist from Burlington, North Carolina. My dad was a Methodist from nearby Graham, a town whose city limit sign is a mere two inches from the same Burlington sign.
When I was a child, Burlington folks were the elite of Alamance County. The Grahamites were outcasts even though Graham was and is the county seat.
My mom is a Mangum. My dad is a Moon. Mangums are die hard Democrats. Moons are die hard Republicans.
I think you get where I am going with this, right? My siblings and I were a confused bunch! At least, I was.
The first couple of years of my life, I lived in one of Granddaddy Mangum’s Burlington rental homes. The house next door to my mom’s parents. So, I guess it was natural for my mother, siblings and me to stay with my mom and Burlington grandparents those times we later visited from Roanoke, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida.
But my dad was from Graham. Maybe he hated the idea of spending another night on Burlington’s Maple Avenue. So, instead, he always chose Graham’s Melville Street. And I don’t blame him. His mom lived there! And his four siblings and longtime friends lived nearby. After hearing all the stories of my dad and his outcast crew from Graham, I don’t blame him at all for ditching his family in Burlington!
But there’s more to this. My Moon cousins from Graham were mostly all much older than my sister and me. On the other hand, our Mangum cousins were mostly around our age, so there was play time on Maple Avenue!
Look, this is my demented and long-winded way of explaining my youthful neglection of my dad’s family in favor of my mom’s. Over time, that notion of neglect changed. In so many ways.
I loved many of the qualities of the woman I married and the mother of our son. But I have to be honest here. One of her greatest qualities paralleled that of a Moon aunt. My bride reminded me of Aunt Edith, my dad’s only sister – the middle Moon in that clan. Both of those women just had and have a knack of making everyone feel special. And in genuine and fun-loving ways.
After our son was born, Aunt Edith held a family “get-together” at her home on a small lake outside of Graham. Everyone called that home and lake “The Hill.” Don’t ask me why. I am guessing it was a typical Graham label of such a place. And because of that, I love that name, too.
At some point toward the end of that gathering, Aunt Edith called us all into the kitchen area. She was standing next to a cupboard, or something, draped in a cloth – a bed sheet or something. That woman loved attention, and she got plenty of it that evening.
She told us all about having searched, endlessly, for a piece of furniture her and my dad’s dad, Papa Moon, once built and somehow gave away or lost during the Great Depression. At that moment, Aunt Edith revealed that she had found it. After years of work. The woman found it.
As she removed the cloth from that piece of furniture, she honored my wife, new born son and me by telling everyone that she felt Papa Moon would want this to go to the youngest and possibly last Moon kid – my young male child.
That entire event honored my dad as well. He was probably cracking jokes during that presentation – to avoid the emotion of the moment. But he got what his sister was saying.
Well, the edict my Moon aunt issued that night was this: that I possess, for the rest of my life, the pie safe Papa Moon built . Then, I was told to pass it along to my only son. Now I kind of feel sorry for my son.
He has three guys of his own. Who the hell does he leave it to? Aunt Edith never instructed us about future generational males!
In every place I have lived since, Papa Moon’s pie safe has been in my living room. It’s sitting in my living room now. I looked at that heirloom the other day. For the first time, I noticed and understood some things that I had placed on the pie safe. There is no reason that I placed them there except that I like what they are. But take a look.
It’s full of clutter. That would impress any Moon.
And the clutter seems to me, to be indicative of just why my siblings and I were as confused as we once were. But I believe my dad would be most impressed by the important things that now, somehow, bring order to the confusion.
The “New Moon” gang!
Happy birthday, again, Daddy!