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Rememberings For me, recalling memories of the past is difficult because I have placed locks on

some memories to keep them in a state of being walled in.

I remember when my Mama Lillian told me

I had a special gift of “sight and touch” a blessing which is like bleach, sacred and frightening. My special gift worried me a

great deal  because I can feel when death is about to move.

I remember moving to our new house in

South Norfolk, Virginia. I was proud that Mama Lillian would be able to plant the

roses and summer flowers she loved. Most

importantly, Mama Lillian found a place in our back yard where she made a country

garden of vegetables and planted cabbage that grew well into October.

I remember Mama Lillian baking the

best bite tasting biscuits in the whole South. Sometimes Jack, our neighbor, would ask

Mama Lillian to give him her old biscuits. She

was afraid. Many a time Mama Lillian told me: “Never give anyone food from the ice box that

you would not eat yourself.”  But Mama Lillian gave Jack the biscuits because she felt it was a


sin not to feed people who were hungry.

I remember being selected a debutante. My

father came to see me in an auditorium wearing a beautiful white gown he had worked hard to

buy for me. I saw my father’s lips smile, but it was his smiling eyes that told me I was beautiful just like Mama Lillian.

I remember being chosen to design the

annual Christmas card for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. I gave a card to

my father to have for his own. The drawings of my father that I made as a little girl made me love to draw. My father worked so hard

all the time. I wanted to always please him.

I remember Mama Lillian’s sighs when she

saw me at the crossroads of life which did not need her lingering Motherhood. I remember

the kitchen door was always open, and Mama Lillian was never worried about flies coming into her house. Always, I leave my kitchen door open.

I want the spirit of Mama Lillian to enter

into my house happy, and singing praises to God with fire baptized lovingkindness.

No Shame in Praising God.

by Larnell Custis Butler


Sample: Improvise In The Amen Corner  

Improvise In The Amen Corner is a book of original poetry and art by Larnell Custis Butler.