The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Not Yet

By Ashby Hartwell Williams

Issue: April, 1983

She turned from the sink, drying her hands on her apron. “Let’s see now, you wanted to know about the old times. They weren’t so good, they weren’t so bad either. They were just life, something to be lived through. I’ve lived 86 years and it seems that there’s always something to be lived through.

Winter is lived through to get to spring, then spring is planting time and then, you guessed it, wait and live through ‘til the garden comes in. I suppose some folks, a whole lot of folks, spend most of their lives waiting to live.

“That’s the secret.” She accented this last sentence with a nod of her head, then looked beyond me, out the open back door. “I used to think I owned time. Law, you should have seen me when I was young. I didn’t get married until I was 28 and it wasn’t because I wasn’t asked, mind you. It was because of time. I always thought there would be plenty of it. One day, I just saw myself and I knew, it was going fast. That’s when I realized how precious it is. Why, if I had a penny for every minute, every hour even, that I let go by, I couldn’t begin to count it.

I guess it starts when you stop thinking about what you’re going to do someday and start regretting what you already missed; seems like there’s no turning around from that point on. The bad part about getting old is that inside you’re still the same person you were at 21, when life was in your pocket. You could go on happy like that but Mother Nature plays mean tricks on you and shows you once in a while just how much difference 20 or 30 years can make. Sure is enough to make a person weary.”

This last sentence was accented with a sigh. I ventured a question, “Have you lived here all your life?”

“Not yet, Dearie, not yet.”