Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her children, Ben Windham and Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
We didn’t yell in our house when we were growing up. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a voice ever being raised except in a joyful moment or in the telling of a story that required it.
We children did yell a lot in the deep lush woods behind our house. The woods provided a supreme playground for a neighborhood full of children. There, we could crawl through ditches, climb trees and play war. War was a favorite pastime of the boys in the neighborhood, and brother Ben often recruited me to serve as the decoy. The decoy’s responsibility was to run past enemy lines while being pelted with hard balls of sticky red clay. I have no idea why I agreed time and again to be the decoy. It was just big brother adoration, I suppose.
My mother devoted much of her time and energy to the church, and she did her best to follow the teachings of the Bible. That wasn’t always the easiest route while raising three rambunctious young children, but she rarely showed what must have been a recurring state of aggravation. I expect the pages of her Bible were thin and worn around Proverbs 15:1 which says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
I do remember a few trying times when most parents would have howled in anger---but not my mother. When she reached her boiling point, she would declare calmly, “I’m going to run screaming to the woods.”
As a child, I was horrified by that statement. I envisioned my sweet mother, hair in flames of anger, racing through the woods, her curdling Tarzan-like scream echoing through the oaks. My brother and sister knew that statement meant it was time to quietly disappear. I, on the other hand, would beg Mother not to carry out this horrid vow. Soon, we all would settle down and peace and calm would return.
But to this day when I’m frustrated and tired and angry, I can hear my mother saying, “I’m going to run screaming to the woods.” And I know what she meant….
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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.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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