Chinaberry Sidewalks

Author Rick Bragg writes that “Some people can just flat write, and other people have a great story to tell, and every now and then it’s the same lucky fool.  Rodney Crowell proves one fried chicken gizzard, one Jax beer, and one awful heartache at a time that you can live with a crazy mama and a damaged daddy and love them both.”

Lord help me, I recognize Rodney Crowell’s Houston.  His memoir is an incredible read.

From the book:

As a boy my favorite place in the world was my grandmother’s apron-covered lap.  Her favorite place in the world was the tiny bedroom where she kept her Bible, a wicker rocking chair, and an old tube radio tuned to the hundred-thousand-watt radio station KXEG in Del Rio, Texas.  Lost in the scent of her leather-covered Bible and the overheated transformers, we went places, met people, and saw things that would shape the remainder of our lives.  Rocking on her lap and listening to a live Carter Family performance, I remember knowing for the first time that I was loved.  In time I came to understand the nature of her love as being part of an even greater love, one that loved my grandmother for loving me.

One day I asked if she had anything to do with this God I’d been hearing about.  Without pause or condescension she answered, “Why, yes, child, I do, but no more than you or your momma or a rank stranger on the street.  Some say God’s sittin’ up in heaven mad as a hornet ’bout how we actin’ down here, but I don’t think he’s mad at all.  Ain’t nobody mad coulda ever made somebody half as special as you.”  She was the enlightened enchantress of my childhood.  I was, and still am, very much in love with Grandma Katie.

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