(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her children, Ben Windham and Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
Mother believed in doing for others. She believed we were put on this earth to bring joy to other people, and she tried to live her beliefs.
Mother and her good friend Georgene Frasier decided that they would have “do-good Sundays.” On Saturday nights, they would bake up some date balls or some cheese wads---look for these recipes in Mother’s cookbooks---and bag them up for the next day. After church and lunch on Sunday, Mother and Georgine would set out on their do-good missions.
All went well until it was noted that three elderly recipients of their visits died within a week after Mother and Georgene had come to call. Then their do-good Sundays lost their luster on both the giving and the receiving ends. Mother said she believed some shut-in friends even began to lock their doors on Sunday afternoons. Though it was just a coincidence, it put an abrupt end to do-good Sundays.
It did not, however, stop Mother from wanting to bring a small bit of joy into otherwise dreary lives. We had a longtime friend who lived around the corner and a block away. She was a brilliant, funny, fascinating woman who, in her final years, grew demented.
Mother still felt her friend needed some attention, so one afternoon she fried up a chicken and cooked some black-eyed peas and cornbread to take to our friend. Being always courteous, Mother called first to make sure it was a convenient time to deliver supper. This, of course, was long before cell phones. If you wanted to talk on the phone, you had to do it on your landline.
Well, Mother called and her friend answered. “Eva Merrill,” Mother said, “I’d like to bring you some fried chicken for your supper. Is this a convenient time?”
“Oh, Kathryn,” Eva Merrill responded, “I’d love to see you, but I’m not at home!”
Mother thought that was a fine answer, something she might use herself somewhere down the line.
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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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