The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

What I Miss Most

By Bob Heafner © 1983-2012

Issue: June, 1983

“Well, I’ll tell you what I miss most about old times,” the elderly lady responded to my question. “I miss company that stayed too long. You know the kind I mean, the ones that’d sit and talk right through dinner. Law, you couldn’t get nothing done. They’d expect you to sit right there and listen as if you never had work to do. Maggie Tatum was always the worst to come and stay too long. She’d sit for hours just rattling along, never once looking at her watch or the clock I always set out when I knew she was coming.”

“Lord, what I’d give sometimes to have Maggie over to talk. Course she’s passed on and it ain’t possible, but I’d sure love it.”

“It seems like as you get older, people get faster. Always in a hurry to do this or that. Never got time to just sit and talk anymore. Even your kids, when they come to visit are always in a hurry. ‘Gotta run, Ma’ or ‘We got’d be there in 20 minutes, Ma’. Always followed by, ‘I’d love to Ma, but I just gotta go.’ Sometimes when they are visiting, they look around the room and stare off into nothing. You know they ain’t listening to you even when they’re here. They are impatient to hurry up and leave.”

“I’ve always heard you gotta loose something to find out how much you love it and I guess that’s true. Is for me! Ain’t nothing in the world I’d like better to have right now than company that stayed too long. Someone like old Maggie, who’d spend the day. Just talking about anything and everything under the sun. Lord, it’d be fun.”

“No siree, things ain’t like they used to be. Not at all. People ain’t even got the time to call now-a-days. There’s always something special on TV or something else just as important, that seems to take the place of people entertaining each other,” she sighed. “It ain’t just cause I’m old that people don’t visit more often. Even the young don’t socialize like we did when I was young. Now-a-days folks are in such a hurry to keep from missing something that they end up missing life. It just rolls right by ‘em while they’re rushing to nothing.”

“Everybody it seems is racing headlong into the future, but I’ll tell you I’ve been around a ‘spell’ and to the best I can recollect, the future ain’t never been that much better than the present. Leastways, not so much that I’d give up now to get to it.”

 “Yep, I miss company that stayed too long more than anything else in the world.” She sat there quietly reflecting on her thoughts for a few moments then she glanced at her watch, “Law, would you look at that?” She beamed, “We been sitting here talking all afternoon. I ain’t got a bit of my work done and it’s gonna soon be dark.” Then she looked me right in the eye with a twinkle, mixed with a spark of hope, and said, “If you ain’t in a hurry I’ll brew us up a cup of coffee to go with a piece of that cake I baked yesterday.”

Without hesitating, I said, “Yes Ma’am I’d love some cake and coffee.”