(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
Through the years, Mother welcomed a menagerie of visitors into her Selma home. Most of them she knew, but some were total strangers who were simply curious about my mother and/or Jeffrey, our famed resident house ghost.
Mother also invited friends and acquaintances often for a bowl of homemade vegetable soup and corn muffins or simply for coffee. Hers was a modest home but one she thoroughly enjoyed sharing with visitors.
Some years ago, Selma had a visitor center just off Highway 80 where travelers from all over the world stopped in for information and directions and conversation. “Cap” Swift was, as far as I know, the center’s only personnel. He ran it full time and was a delightful host. He also did not hesitate to give visitors directions to Mother’s house. Sometimes she would return home to find strangers in the front yard photographing her home.
But she had a favorite visitor story. She answered a knock at the door one morning to find a group of 10 Asian men standing around in the yard. They were smiling and nodding when Mother appeared.
The group spokesman stepped forward and, with a wide grin, inquired, “Open for observation?”
In her most gracious Southern manner, Mother discouraged their visit, but she delighted in telling that story time and again.
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–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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