(The Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
My mother loved cemeteries.
As children, we never questioned why Mother would pull the car into a country cemetery just to roam about and read the tombstones. It was part of the journey, a part I learned to love, too, as I got older and wandered through graveyards with my mother. One of our favorite epitaphs was on a headstone in southwest Alabama. It read simply: She did what she could. Mother and I often teased each other with that phrase when outcomes were disappointing
Mother had a long-standing tradition of taking her guests on picnics to Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma. It is a remarkable resting place, with curtains of Spanish moss draping the oak trees and a coolness that even the river city heat can’t dispel.
Mother would pack pimento cheese sandwiches, potato salad, and Little Debbie Cakes in a cooler, pour up a jug of tea, and grab a quilt to use as a tablecloth. Being a believer in recycling, she would take along Tide detergent measuring cups to hold the potato salad servings. Pretense was never a word associated with my mother.
Then she and her guests would select a family to dine with and spread the quilt along the raised brick walls of that family’s plot. And have a picnic. It was her signature entertainment, and dozens of friends and acquaintances enjoyed it through the years.
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Dilcy Windham Hilley
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