Monday, April 19, 2010

Guest Blogger: Family Stories

Every week this month, I will be featuring a guest blogger/writer. If you are interested in being featured next month, please contact me at with your stories, advice, experiences, and poetry!
Kathryn Embrey is our second guest blogger in the month of April. Her story is a narrative that explores the power of love a first glance and the family legacy that follows. If you have family stories you'd like to share at The Universal Soul, please send me an e-mail.

"The Beginning of Every Family"

There is moment that becomes the beginning of every family. It could be an introduction from a mutual friend or a cursory glance given in passing. For mine, it was a chance meeting of two strangers on an old country road...

It was 1952, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and two strangers woke up one morning not knowing that by the afternoon both of their lives would change forever. As far as they knew, it was a normal day with normal routines and normal activities.

Evelyn, a young waitress at the local ice cream parlor, began her day as usual. She woke to a clear blue sky that she welcomed with a broad smile. For the past week, it had rained every which way imaginable and muddied up the streets. The break from the rainy weather was an invitation to be outside, and Evelyn planned to do just that. Evelyn combed through her dark hair letting it lay naturally. After sifting through her closet, she decided on a plain lilac colored dress. It was nothing special and was not meant to impress, but it fit nicely. Evelyn and a friend, Thelma, made plans to walk through town that day.

Thelma worked at a local diner and was quite the chatterbox. She could talk for an eternity about nothing, some people used to say. As Evelyn and Thelma walked, rain puddles were disturbed by their shoes shuffling down the street. Thelma began to gush and rattle on about some guy that came to the diner she worked at recently. Thelma wanted to go see him and Evelyn sensed that her chatterbox friend had other motives than a simple visit. As they made their way down the street, a stranger to this town had started his morning rather differently.

Paul was already on his way to work before the sun even peaked above the horizon. He worked for Burnup and Sims, a telecommunications company, digging trenches to lay cables and phone lines. It was hard work, the kind that made his muscles ache for days. But it was work, and Paul was thankful for the job. He had travelled from Florida along the Gulf Coast digging the trenches and laying the cable. For the past week, he and a few other men had made their way to the small town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The torrential rain that fell from the dark clouds in previous days made today's work more difficult than anticipated. The trenches had become slippery, slick, and sticky. It was hard enough for the men to get in and out of the deep trenches, let alone complete the job they were sent to do.

The sun reached the highest point in the sky, and its rays stung the back of Paul's neck. He never complained, but the warmth of the sun was better than the ice cold rain, he thought. In the distance, Paul could hear two voices and recognized one of them. It was Thelma, he thought, the waitress that served him every time he went to the diner. Thelma was nice, a little chatty, but a nice girl all the same. He noticed that she had taken an interest in him but never gave into her advances. Paul had always wanted a family, but he was focused on his work for the time being.

"Paul!" Thelma called out in excitement.

He looked up from the deep, muddy hole he stood in to not only see Thelma but another girl with her. Paul was stunned. Thelma began to attempt to get his attention by asking too many questions but Paul paid no mind to her. His focus was on the dark haired girl standing next to Thelma. Paul was overcome with a wonderful sensation, and he could not look away from the creature that stood before him.

Paul Martin may have been a simple Georgia boy, but he knew a good thing when it crossed his path.

Evelyn had no expectations of the person that Thelma had spoken so highly of during their walk. He sounded like a nice person, but Evelyn could not be so sure, especially when it came from Thelma. Bay St. Louis was not a large city at all, and Evelyn and Thelma reached the place that Thelma spoke of in no time.

It was muddy, and the ground was still soaked from the rain. On the edge of the road a deep hole filled with mud, water, and a few men. One man looked up at her as Thelma called his name. Evelyn saw past his the muddy covered waders and the sweat stained face.

In that very moment Paul and Evelyn's eyes met. In that moment, two strangers met on an old country road. In that moment, a 56-year love affair had begun. In that moment, a real fairytale had sprung from the worn pages of storybook and into reality.


Words From the Author:

I am a 20 year old college student attending the University of South Florida to study Elementary Education. I am excited to be a future educator and mentor to children. I grew up in a broken home and have lost loved ones throughout my short life. Despite the loss, I find comfort in the written word, such as poetry and song lyrics. I hold onto the hope that I too will have a "happily ever after" as my grandparents did.

After my grandparents met that day, three months later, they were married and moved to Florida. There they had three children together, Paul Jr., Peter, and Lillian, who is my mother. Their life together was based on their love for each other, and more importantly their Faith. My grandparents loved each other up until the very moment my Grandaddy passed from one life into the next.

Kathryn posts her words and poetry at her blog here:

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