Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Alabama: Visiting Camden

**Map Photo Credit**
Husband and I rode along with the in-laws to Camden, Alabama. It was a three and a half to four hour drive. I slept the entire way. If I had thought about it, I would have taken a pillow because when I arrived in Camden I had all kinds of kinks in my neck. Anyway, Camden is a little town southwest of Selma. History enthusiasts might recognize the town of Selma because it is the location where Martin Luther King, Jr. organized thousands of non-violent demonstrators to march on Montgomery back in the 60's. That is some serious history in this part of Alabama.

This is my second time visiting Camden. We are talking backwoods - deep - South - hear - the - whispers - of - slaves - from - centuries - past - Alabama. I am amazed at how isolated it  is. I know that seems strange coming from me being that I live in Hawai'i, which IS thee most isolated place on the planet. Thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean separates Hawai'i from all other land masses. Camden is another story. There is land everywhere. Poverty too. The last time I was there was back in 2009. Honestly, not a thing has changed. The Piggly Wiggly reminds me of the small IGA(Independent Grocery Association) grocery store that was in the town I grew up in.

My father-in-law's connection to his family reminds me of how my mother was. While we were in town, we visited with his mother whom we call Madea. She is very sickly and she suffers from dementia. She goes in and out of coherence. When we first arrived, she didn't recognize any of us. We hung out at the house for a little while. Madea's faithful pup, Lil Bit, was there to entertain us.

After a while we went out to get something to eat at a place called Dallas Soul Food. According to google, it's located on Claiborne Street. The left plate pictured is mine. Starting with the bottom left - smothered pork chops, potato salad, black eye peas on rice. The potato salad was a bit much. I tend to like a plain potato salad. This one had too much additions from sugar to sweet relish and pimentos (I'm guessing). I feel like I can make most of what I ate on that plate better but I was hungry and I devoured it all. I had a side of greens to go with it also. The plate on the right is husbands. He had ribs, yams, black eye peas and greens. Heaps of southern hospitality by the girl who served us.

After a late lunch, we headed to my father-in-law's uncle's house. He had broken his hip and was not recovering well. How my F-I-L attends to his family reminds me of how my mother used to do the same. No matter where we were, she always made it a point to see family. I think I should be more like that and return to the ways in which my mother taught me. Anyway, Uncle Charlie's wife is just the cutest lady. Her home is heated by a wood-burning furnace located in the living room. As soon as you open the door, the smell of the smoke hits you. It was a very humble home. I can't recall her name right now but I know it will come to me. Her dedication and love for her husband was very endearing.

When we returned to Madea's house she was wide awake and ready to talk. As soon as we walked in the door, she started hollering at us. We went to her room and chit chatted with her. She knew all of us including me. I love-love-love how she tells everyone, "You look fine. Big, fat and fine." It just rolls off her tongue. Madea has a booming voice that fills the room. She has beautiful skin and she has to be in her 80's, maybe even 90's. No wrinkles. Dark, flawless skin. They say she may not live long but she's been hanging on for a quite some time now. I'm just glad we were able to visit with my extended family. Who knows when I will find myself in Alabama again?

This visit was just for the day but this small post skims the surface of my experience there. I really could go on and on about the different people and events that happened this day. Please enjoy my pictures from Camden, Alabama (with my watermark on it). Click on the picture to see a larger pic.

This is the Courthouse/Library/Tax Collector all housed in one building. I love that. Their building serves all of Camden, maybe even all of Wilcox County.

Husband says this sign has been up since he lived there. I had to capture it. I wish I could see pictures of my grandmother's home. When she passed, her will directed the attorneys to sell the home and the profits be split equally between her children. This was one of the driving stories behind my desire to snap some pics

 A rear view of Madea's home.