Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mrs. Olivene B. Godfrey age 89 of Chatsworth, passed away Saturday, October 21, 2017 at her residence.

Mrs. Godfrey was very active in her church and with local community affairs for many years. She was a member of Chatsworth First United Methodist Church, where she had served as the kindergarten Sunday school teacher, director of the churches children choir, and other church involvement. She was a charter member of the Pilot Club of Chatsworth, and charter member and first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Godfrey may have been best known for her columns that she wrote in the Daily Citizen and Chatsworth Times Newspapers. She had published several novels and was still writing a daily blog up until recent years.
Mrs. Godfrey was preceded in death by her parents, Rev. J. E. Brashear and Pauline Brashear Joiner; sisters, Joan Barker and Dianne Vaughn; husband, Ralph A. Godfrey.
Survivors include her loving son, Barry Godfrey, Chatsworth; sister, Jeanette Copper, Dalton; dear caregiver and friend, Tam Little, Cohutta; Nieces and nephews also survive.
Funeral services to celebrate the life of Mrs. Godfrey will be held Tuesday October 24, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the chapel of Peeples Funeral Home. Interment will follow in the Murray Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends Monday from 5:00 until 9:00 p.m. at the funeral home. 
Peeples Funeral Home & Crematory of Chatsworth is in charge of the arrangements.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


September 12, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

I haven't felt well for a couple of weeks.  I have some thoughts I want to share tonight (Monday).  I will be 90 years old in December, Lord willing.  I think my greatest achievement has been lovingly rearing my only child, son, Barry.  He has become a good, responsible man who takes good care of me through good and bad times.  He makes me very proud and I feel blessed to have him.
I'm grateful for having Tam, who is much more than a caregiver.  She is like my daughter and I thank God for sending her to me.  I'm also grateful for my good friends who read my blogs even when they aren't interesting.  Please remember me in your prayers.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


September 5, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

I've loved books, especially novels, since I was 11 or 12 years old.  My large office has floor to ceiling bookcases filled with books which I have read.

I was thinking today of the many bookcases that were in my late parents home when I grew up.  I remember reading my first adult novel.  The American novelist and newspaper columnist (July 16, 1880 - January 18, 1966) was Kathleen Norris.  She was one of the most widely read and highest paid female writers for nearly 50 years.  Her short stories appeared in many popular women's magazines.  She wrote 93 novels, many of which were best sellers.  Some of her novels were made into films.  Some of her novels were adapted for a radio series.

She was my inspiration.  But, unfortunately, few writers achieve her fame.  I have several of her novels in my office library.  Speaking of novels, my latest novel, The Bend in the Road, is still available from Amazon for Kindles and in paperback.

See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


August 30, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

My final novel, The Bend in the Road, was recently published and friends who have read it have told me it is a good book.  But, even the best novels need publicity.  I can't afford expensive advertising and I am hoping the local newspaper, The Daily Citizen, will print an article on it being published.  I worked for The Daily Citizen for 10 years several years ago.  We sent an email to the editor when it was published but haven't received a response yet.

My mind went back today to long time editor, Mark Pace, who gave me my first break.  Another editor, Jimmy Espy, wrote a column about me when I started writing a blog.  Espy started the newspaper's Forum.  I think his sarcastic and often humorous comments made the feature popular.  The Forum is now boring with few editor comments.  Many of the entries are long tirades that make little sense.  I would love to read Jimmy Espy's comments on some of them.

See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Friday, August 25, 2017


August 25, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

I want to thank my blog and Facebook friends for buying my final novel, The Bend in the Road.  Your comments always warm my heart.

While I wrote the novel, it had been a long time since I'd read it.  Yesterday afternoon I didn't have anything in particular to do so Tam suggested I read the novel.  While I was reading the book, I kept thinking, "By Golly, this is a good book!", and I can hardly wait to get back to reading it.

I was reminded of words from Celeste Sibley who wrote a popular column for many years for the Atlanta Constitution newspaper.  She wrote about interviewing a famous author who was on tour promoting a new book.  She said the author complained about her awful writing in the book.  Celeste, who I had the privilege of meeting in Atlanta, said she didn't understand that and added, "I like my writing."  Celeste also has several books published.  She told me she often read the column I wrote for Dalton's Daily Citizen which pleased me very much.

Again, thanks for purchasing the book, and I hope each of you enjoy reading it.  I also hope you will tell your friends about the book.

See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Monday, August 21, 2017


August 21, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

My final book, "The Bend in the Road", has been published through Amazon.  The book can be purchased through Amazon on a Kindle or paperback.  I received my copy in paperback and am very pleased and impressed at how well it turned out.
I pray that the novel will be a success as I will soon be 90 and my lifetime goal will be a reality.  Also, it would be wonderful if it could be a financial success so I could give Barry and Tam financial security.
The only thing I would want for myself would be to have a night caregiver.  I'm like the heroine in the novel, I'm afraid of the darkness at night.  I can't sleep without a night light.  Sometimes I have bad dreams and need someone to comfort me.  Barry works and needs his sleep and I don't want to wake him.
I want to publicly thank Tam for making the publishing of the new novel, as well as my other books a reality.  She is not only my caregiver but also my secretary, personal assistant, editor and typist.
The novel was written in the 1980's at night after a day's work and my daily chores of being a wife and mother.  When it was completed I sent it to a literary agent who loved it.  She thought she had it sold to a major publisher.  She called and said the editors on the editorial board wanted to publish it but were waiting for final approval from the senior editor.  Keep in mind I had a reputation of being a tough newspaper reporter and writer of a daily column which was often controversial.  Then the agent called and said the senior editor had rejected it because it was "too Southern".  I wondered if they had ever heard of Tennessee Williams.  I also briefly thought of the famous Southern author who once wrote that if she wrote a book in Japanese the characters would have a Southern accent.
 Then, I lost it.  I cried like a baby, my heart broke, and it was a year before I wrote anything except personal letters.  Then God, with my sister, Jeannette's help, sent Tam to me.  I had started writing a blog.  I started having health problems and Tam started typing and editing my blogs.
She read my many manuscripts and loved them.  Each one had been typed on a typewriter when they were originally written.  In her spare time using Barry's computer, she re-typed and prepared them for publication.
Our longtime friend, Kym came by for a visit on Sunday.  She stayed with me so Barry could get away for awhile.  She brought her copy of my new book for me to sign.  I know the odds are against having a best seller, but I'm praying for a miracle.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Thursday, August 10, 2017


August 10, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

The following is the first chapter of my adult, contemporary mainstream novel, "The Bend in the Road", which has been self published through Amazon.  The novel is available as a paperback, also through Amazon.  I hope you will buy it and enjoy reading it.
April 1983
Ray Davis shook his head, trying to free himself from the feeling that he was drowning.  The sharp pain deep in his stomach was so severe he leaned forward, grasping the edge of the bathroom vanity.  He gazed at his wife.  She was furiously brushing her auburn hair, its snap and crackle the only sound in the house.  For a moment Ray thought he was still asleep, that he was dreaming.
Wendy Davis tossed the brush onto the vanity and pressed a hand to her mouth, trying to control the trembling of her chin.
Ray’s heart was pounding, his stomach churning.  He recognized the expression on her face.  Christ, she’s serious.
“Honey, listen....”
“I’m tired of pretending, Ray.”
“Are you pissed off about this summer, I mean, because I’ve gotta work out of the Chicago office?”
“Don’t you understand?  I’m not trying to start a fight.”
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his slacks.  He was confused.  And scared.  She doesn’t know about....  Dammit, she can’t know.  Gotta keep talking.
“I’m sorry, honey, I should have taken you somewhere to rest.”
He ran his fingers through his silver hair.  Can’t think straight.  Her mother died and he was too damn busy to notice she was pale and too thin.  He had been busy, trying to work out something with Phil about the textile imports and then....  Jesus, gotta meet Phil at the airport in an hour.  What the hell is wrong with me?  She’s talking about divorce and I’m worrying about missing a plane.
It’s the shock....
His voice was gentle.  “Now what brought on this silly talk about a divorce?”
“When the kids went back to college.... all winter.... it was awful, knowing, not wanting to believe.”
Tears brimmed Wendy’s eyes as she gazed at Ray.  For twenty years he had given her life meaning.  And then he had betrayed her.  He’s trying to control his emotions, to concoct an appropriate story, she thought.
There was a sudden stirring in her insides, that feeling that threatened to erupt into an angry rage.  She had to be calm, sensible, civilized.
She took a deep breath.
“I think we should continue this discussion in the bedroom.  Don’t worry, you’ll be able to keep your date tonight.  I only have a few more things to say to you.”
Stunned, Ray followed her into the master bedroom.  Wendy sat on the edge of the bed, running one hand along the green, satin bedspread.
“Sit down, Ray.”
He sat on the chair beside the bed, his long legs stretched out in front of him.  His mind was messed up.  Need time to think, time to find the words that’ll make everything right again.  Dammit, she’s been mine since she was a teenager.
“I love you, Wendy.”
She bit the corner of her lip and he suddenly remembered the locker room conversations, the men talking about women and the inevitable advice.
Deny, deny, deny.
Dammit, he couldn’t lie to Wendy.  But he couldn’t tell her the truth either.  With a sinking feeling, Ray thought, whatever I do I’m damned.
“I, I thought you were happy with me and the kids.  And I trusted you.  Ray, how could you.... mama was dying with cancer and you were cheating on me.”
Ray felt his world crashing around him.
“I don’t know what you’ve heard, Jesus, you know I love you.”
She closed her eyes and nervously fingered her wedding band.
She opened her eyes and clenched her hands into fists.  “When mama was sick, there was gossip about you and young women.  I didn’t want to believe it and I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind.”
“Dammit, you know how those gossip mongers are....”
As if she didn’t hear him, Wendy went on, “When mama died, I felt so all alone.  Jill and Dan were away at school and you were....  Someone sent me a picture of you and a young woman.  My God, she didn’t look any older than Jill.”
Ray cringed.
Deny, deny, deny.
Honey, you know how it is at the markets.  There were photographers there, taking pictures for newspapers and trade magazines.  And of course, I’m usually talking to buyers.  Christ, why would anyone send you a picture?”
“The picture was taken at a night club.  I suppose I should congratulate you.  She’s very young, very beautiful, and very wealthy.”
Ray dropped his eyes.  If only Wendy hadn’t thrown this at him with no warning.  He was too shocked to think and he hated this, and, God, it wasn’t supposed to have happened.
“You’ve almost achieved your goal.  And we had so many plans,” Wendy said sadly, “We were going to have our own celebration when you became president of the company.  But, now....”
“I never wanted to hurt you.”
Ray lowered his head, he couldn’t bear to see the raw pain in her face.
“Do you want to marry the girl?”
“No,” Ray said quietly, “I’ve never wanted to be married to anyone but you.  Remember the night we met?”
He’s stalling, Wendy thought, but the memories came rushing back.  She had just completed her sophomore year at the university when she met Ray at the drive-in restaurant where her social group often gathered.  Wendy was seated in a booth with two classmates when she saw Ray and his friend, Gary, leaning against the brilliantly lighted jukebox.
She couldn’t tear her eyes away from him.  In those days Ray’s hair was as black as his eyes.  Those eyes....  The boys Wendy had known all of her life, even the ones she met at college, were not comfortable with her.  But Ray had looked at her with frank desire in his eyes.
She could never remember the words they spoke when Ray and Gary joined her and the other girls.  It seemed, in retrospect, that the conversation had been bantering and playful.  She did remember watching the two young men, trying to define the reason only one of them had unnerved her.  They were both tall, broad shouldered, tanned and good looking.  She noted their strong, masculine jaws, black brows above dark eyes and sensual mouths.
So alike and yet different.
Gary was certainly an attractive man.  But, Ray?  Even then he possessed that charisma.  There was more though.... something magical, a sexual magnetism that overwhelmed her.  She felt the current between them, electrifying, stunning her.  She had her own goals and they did not include marriage, at least not for years.  But, she hadn’t counted on meeting Ray Davis.
“Listen to me, Wendy.  You were the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen and I think I fell in love with you that night.  You’ve told me a thousand times you felt the same way.”
She stared at him.  “I can’t share you with another woman.”
“I’ve never shared the important things in my life with anyone but you.  Remember the hours we’ve talked about my work?  Dammit, you know I don’t want a divorce.”
She leaned forward, searching his face.  “You’re an intelligent man but you’ve almost flaunted the affair with the girl.  Yvonne.  Isn’t that her name?  Oh, you may not have done it consciously.  But, it’s obvious to me that you must have wanted me to know you were being unfaithful.”
"You can't believe I'd want to hurt you."
"I, I don't know what to believe.  Ray, the twins have heard gossip, too."
Ray felt a twitching in his jaw muscles.  "What have you told them?"
"I assured them that regardless of how you feel about me now that you still love both of them."
Ray became frantic, afraid he would fall apart.  Dammit, why did this have to happen?  And why did Wendy tell him she knew about Yvonne, for christsake?  Sue had to know that Gary fooled around when he was out of town but she didn't want a divorce.
And then he remembered.  In the beginning, he had been afraid that one day he would lose Wendy.  But not this way.
The teenage Wendy had been so lovely she left him breathless.  The oval, model perfect face, shimmering auburn hair, clear green eyes, the most beautiful skin he had ever seen and the kind of body that could make the most saintly of men melt.  And from the first moment Ray saw Wendy, he had been lost.
He had known they lived in different worlds.  And he soon discovered that Wendy had been blessed with a brilliant mind.  Her mother brought her up to be a traditional southern lady.  At the same time, her father had been grooming her to manage the family farm.  Wendy was so curious, so interested in everything, and it seemed to Ray that she could discuss intelligently almost any subject under the sun.  No, Wendy couldn't have concealed her shrewd, quick brain any more than she could have remained in the background.
Call it male chauvinism, whatever, but Wendy's keen intelligence had scared the hell out of him.  He considered himself to be a bright, young man.  And when he met Wendy he was working in a factory and attending college classes at night.  Sure, he was ambitious but he knew damn well he wasn't in Wendy's league.
There were times when Ray suspected the members of Wendy's social group resented not only her beauty but her intelligence.  He would bristle when they called her “The Brain”.  But, Wendy would flash her disarming smile and with her tongue in cheek humor poke fun at herself.  Even if Wendy's friends did envy her, there was no doubt she was the social leader of the group.
She introduced him to her socially prominent friends and opened doors for him in the business world.  He was dazzled by Wendy and he loved her to distraction.  It didn't occur to him to question when or how she had learned so much about texture, color and chemistry.
Ray suddenly became aware of the silence in the house.  How long had he let his mind wander?  Wendy was sitting absolutely still on the bed, watching him.  The years had subdued her youthful beauty and there was the look of ruined dreams on her face.  But she was still so lovely....  Maturity and experience had enhanced her beauty, her naturally graceful poise.
She had looked so damn sexy when he met her and he had been stunned when he discovered she was a virgin.  She was sweet and innocent and he tried to control his youthful passion.  But, he had known she wanted him as desperately as he did her.  And he was puzzled when she would not give into his frustrated pleas.
For a fleeting moment, he remembered the night when she had pushed him away from her and said, "No, I can't.  It's a sin."
Gradually, Ray learned of Wendy's religious upbringing, the strong moral and spiritual values she still tried to live up to.  Oh, she wasn't a sanctimonious person but....
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Guilt engulfed him.  "I can't leave with things this way between us."
"The meetings Phil has set up are important and you can't afford to screw up your promotion now."
Promotion?  Even now she was thinking about his damn job.  The resentful emotions Ray had hidden inside him for years, like a time bomb, suddenly exploded.  He felt the hair bristle at the back of his neck and his guilt, his misery, were drowned in a rush of angry pride.
He lashed out at her, "You want the truth?  You want to know how you've made me feel?  Well, I'll tell you.  Emasculated.  A wimpy puppet.  Did you really think I didn't know you were feeding ideas into my head?  Maybe you don't think much of my professional abilities and maybe I wouldn't be where I am today without your help.  But how will I ever know?  Dammit, how can you blame me for enjoying being with women who admire me, and, yes, make me feel like a real man?"
He was becoming more angry, losing all control.
"So you can't share me.  How do you think I've felt, competing with a goddamn farm?  You don't need anyone, Wendy Davis, not as long as you have your precious farm.  But you aren't so smart when it comes to farming, are you?  I've tried to tell you that Bill isn't a competent farm manager.  But, what do I know?  Right?  You're pouring money into a lost cause to satisfy your own ego.  Christ, I'm in debt over my head, trying to make the mortgage payments on the house you had to have and the expensive farm machinery and...."
Wendy's face was chalk white, her eyes glazed.  My God, had he lost his mind?  How could he have said those things to the woman who mattered to him more than any other?  Wendy dropped out of college, gave up the education she so desperately wanted, for him.  If she hadn't worked while he finished his college education, and if she hadn't helped him, he couldn't have come up from a shipping clerk to a company vice president.
Ray dropped his face in his hands.  He hadn't been fair.  How could he ever undo the pain he had just inflicted on Wendy?  Sure, there were things wrong with their marriage.  But it was his guilt that had made him turn on her in an angry rage.  Hadn't he always known Wendy couldn't suppress her creativity, the ideas that bubbled up within her?  It had seemed to him that with her left hand, Wendy beautifully managed their home, cared for the children and came up with ideas that were largely responsible for his own success.  It couldn't have been easy for her though.  When she worked as a secretary and then when she was busy with the farm operation, she listened to him talk of his work for hours.
The desire he felt for other women was mechanical, satisfied with no emotion.  The sexual attraction he felt for Wendy, the magic, had deepened over the years.
He lifted his head and the expression on Wendy's face frightened him.  He had never before seen anyone who looked so utterly alone.  He had been wrong, terribly wrong.  She loved him, she wanted to help him.  And he just went too far....
"I'm sorry, Wendy, I didn't mean any of that, it's just that I didn't dream, hell, I can't believe any of this.  Wendy, goddammit, you know I didn't believe that shit.  I'm just mixed up, confused...."
Her face was crumpling.  "You, you thought.... partners, damn you, we said we were partners.  I didn't suspect.... You didn't seem interested in the farm but, damn you, Ray Davis, damn you.  I thought you liked our house, this room, the kitchen."
Tears ran down Ray's cheeks.  "I do love the house and I love you.  Honey, I'm sorry.  You have a right be hurt, to be mad as hell.  I've been a rotten jerk but I didn't mean any of that bullshit.  C'mon, sweetheart, you know I love you."
She didn't seem to hear him and she went on in a choked voice, "All these years you resented my help.  You wanta know something funny?  I, I thought you were the only person who really knew me, who understood me.  It seemed like such a miracle that you loved me and I wanted to help you.  I've needed you and I've loved you so much but you broke promises.... You said you'd never leave me alone at night."
God, he couldn't think straight.  The past two years.  I've been crazy as hell.  Wendy, fearless Wendy, afraid of the dark, afraid to sleep alone without burning a night light.  I've left her alone too many nights.  Yvonne and the others.... why did he think he needed them?
Wendy saw the agony in Ray's face but she couldn't forgive him now.  She didn't want him to know the guilty expression on his face was ripping out her heart, tearing it to shreds.  She turned her head away from him and closed her eyes.
"Honey, we'll talk about this when I come home.  I'll arrange to be back in a few days."
"Do you think there can be a marriage between us now?"
"Are you saying there isn't anything I can do to make things right, to change your mind?", he asked, reaching out, trying to embrace her.
She pushed him away and stood up.  When she spoke her voice was cold and empty.  "I never knew you.  Forget about the obligations, the things you've resented.  Our lawyer... Kevin... he's really your friend.  I'll find someone else.  You can work out something with the lawyers about supporting the kids."
Her eyes went to the two bags Ray had placed earlier in the evening at the foot of the bed.
"Just get out of here.  I never want to see you again."
Stunned, Ray gazed at Wendy.  If only she would yell at him, flash those green eyes.  Dammit, if he hadn't lost his temper and said those awful things he could have made things right again.  She's too smart to believe he could be serious about another woman.  But he had wounded her in the worst way.  They'd had some rough times in the past.  He had never seen Wendy this way though.  That look of defeat on her face....
Christ, how could he have been so damn wrong?  She bit her lower lip and with a sudden insight, Ray fully realized that Wendy, the proud lady, the genius, the superwoman who had juggled marriage, motherhood, career, and, yes, her insecure husband's career, had been honest when she said she needed him.  She had seemed to self sufficient but she's vulnerable....
"Wendy, I can't go.  Let me touch you, please darling, I love you and I don't want a divorce."
"Stop it!  Haven't you done enough to me?"
Ray got to his feet and caught her chin in his hand, forcing her to look at him.  "I don't deserve your forgiveness.  And I'll never forgive myself for hurting you this way.  But, I swear, since I met you there hasn't been anyone else, not ever, that I've loved or wanted to be my wife."
She drew away from him.  "Goodbye, Ray."  She sounded very tired.
Ray hesitated.  In return for her help he had made her feel she had failed him.  Unexpectedly, he remembered the beautiful young girl, shunned for her intelligence.  Had he been so self centered that he couldn't see she was yearning for someone to love her?  She looked as if she were about to fall apart.  God, the sight of her tormented face was tearing him apart.
"Let me call Nancy.  I don't want you to be alone."
"You haven't minded leaving me alone for years."
"I'm sorry about the broken promises, Wendy.  I shouldn't have left you alone and those women meant nothing to me.  Remember the crazy, fun things we used to do, like making love on the hay in the barn and that night when we parked and I made love to you on the truck's flat bed?  And those nights beside the fire in here...."
She looked very sad.  She said, quietly, "That was when your taste was more simple, before you became so sophisticated, and before you became enamored of the jet setter's lifestyle."
Ray ran a hand across his face.  "I guess I lost my head for a while.  But, I'd come to my senses before tonight, Wendy.  And, I swear, there's never been a time I haven't wanted to get back here to you."
"So I could feed more ideas into your mind?  Ray, please, go, please...."
Her face was full of pain.  He had to do as she asked, to leave her a little of her pride, that fierce Irish pride.  "I'll call you," he said, softly.

Wendy had once felt a throb of pride in surveying the master bedroom.  It had been a private oasis for her and Ray, or so she had believed.  Now she lay in bed, waiting for the shock to diminish.  When mama died, she had known she had to confront Ray, to bring the gossip out into the open.  She had been a strong person who could cope with her problems since childhood.  But the huge weight of misery had become more than she could bear.  In desperation, Wendy confided in Nancy Armory, the wife of Ray's employer.  Nancy had been her mother's friend.  Wendy knew the older woman would be truthful with her.
Nancy tried to soften the pain..  "I don't know why Ray's acting so foolish.  But, I do know he isn't serious about that girl.  Just talk to him, tell him how you're feeling.  You both can work this problem out."
And deep inside Wendy had hoped that if she forced a confrontation, Ray would come to his senses, that he would realize he was taking such a risk even if he wasn't emotionally involved with Yvonne.  Yes, she had hoped they could make a new commitment of trust and restore the intimacy they once had in their marriage.
The ugly words Ray shouted, the accusations, stunned her.  She rubbed her knuckles against her mouth, still feeling numb.
How could he have felt that way?  It had been his masculinity that appealed to her when she met him.  And didn't he know she couldn't have loved him if he hadn't been a strong man?  She had truly believed Ray had seen through the facade she showed to the world.  Didn't he know she often laughed to keep from crying?
A confused sensation swept over her.  What would she do now?  Her parents were gone.  Her children were young adults.  It had been painful but she had let them go, wanting them to develop a strong sense of being independent people.  And now Ray was gone....
Wendy rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed.  Pray....  She had no remembrance of when she began praying.  Church had been a part of her family's life.  But it was the warmth, the love, the laughter she remembered... Her father's keen sense of humor, the stories he told her, his wisdom, his love of the land... Her mother, so gentle, yet so strong, always sensing when her daughter needed a pat on the back and a helping hand and giving her comfort when she was sad.
Mama and daddy didn't need to put into words the deep faith that kept them going in dark moments.  Together they knew a rare happiness and then death separated them....
In her sorrow, Wendy asked, "Mama, how can we bear to live without daddy?"
Her mother drew Wendy into her arms and quietly reminded her of the precious moments they had shared with the man they both loved.  And then she said, "Losing daddy is the most terrible thing that's ever happened to us.  We'll never get over it, honey.  But, your daddy used to say you're a true O'Connell woman, as strong as those women who came here with their men.  There now, it's only natural to grieve.  But, can't you just hear daddy asking us not to go around looking all gloomy, to smile a wee bit?"
Now Wendy dropped to the floor, kneeling beside the bed.  Fresh tears flowed from her eyes as she silently prayed.  When she was settled again in the big bed, her thoughts turned unexpectedly to a night shortly before she heard the gossip about Ray.  She was saying her nightly prayers when Ray entered the bedroom.  When she stood up and got into bed Ray looked at her as if he were debating something with himself.  She watched him as he fastened the buttons on his pajama top, wondering what he was thinking.
"Do you wanna talk a while?", she asked.
He looked startled for a moment.  Then he walked to the bed and slid in beside her.  "My folks didn't go to church and, uh, what do you pray about, I mean, why do you have to pray every night?"
For a second, Wendy thought Ray's voice was edged with sarcasm.  She reminded herself that she was tired and worried about her mother and his question surprised her.
She turned her head toward him.  "If I have a problem, I ask God to give me strength and to guide me.  Then, I thank Him for my many blessings and I ask Him to help me be a good wife and mother."
A strange look crossed his face and then he reached for her, holding her close for a long time.  Did he want to talk to her that night about his feelings?  If only he had given her a clue.  She buried her face in the pillow.  Ray had been her only love, her life.  She must have failed to be the wife he wanted, the wife she had wanted to be.
She was so tired, too tired to try to find the answers.  She lay motionless, exhausted from months of emotional chaos, climaxed by the stormy confrontation with Ray.  Finally, she dozed.  And then the dream, the nightmare she had been having for months started.
"No," she murmured.
But she could not escape.  She was deep in the forest, shrouded by a dense fog.  There was an eerie total absence of sound.  She was alone, absolutely alone.  Wait....  There was a shadowy figure, lurking just beyond where she stood frozen with fear.  She tried to call out for help but she was mute.  Her throat worked convulsively but she couldn't speak.  The figure moved closer and she could almost see his face.  She reached out for him and then he turned into a misshapen, ugly hag.  Now she was the hag, her skin wrinkled, her body repulsive.  The shadowy figure was back, taunting her.  She began to run faster and faster until she reached the clearing.
Her house had vanished!  She was old and ugly and alone and she had even lost her house.  And then she was falling into a menacing darkness.  She shuddered awake.  The pain twisted in her stomach and she clasped her arms around her.  The words Ray had said sizzled through her brain.  She had often been hurt by careless words, even cruel words.  But Ray had hurt her tonight as no one ever had before.
For her, marriage was sacred... until death do you part.  But the marriage she had believed she had with Ray was a lie.  How long had he repressed the bitterness, the venom, his hostile emotions?  Whatever she had done, she had done because she loved him.
Ray had looked so forlorn, so mixed up inside.  She longed to put her arms around him, to hold him.  Maybe he didn't understand....  After she married Ray, those who had rejected her no longer mattered.  He had made her believe she was loved and cherished.  And she had been able to bear the loss of her father because of Ray.
She had almost died giving birth to the twins.  There were other complications... The gynecological surgery that left her sterile, shattering her dreams of having a large family.  Because of Ray, the images of the children she would never have faded with time.
She had been grateful to Ray and she had wanted to pay him back.  The only way she knew how was to try to help him with his work.  But he had resented her help and he said she had castrated him.  A disturbing thought hovered on the edge of her mind, too painful to try to analyze.
What difference did it make now?  Sadness washed over her.  Mama.... Daddy....
You’re an O’Connell woman, a survivor.
Wendy could hear her father’s voice, telling her wonderful stories about leprechauns and rainbows and the stars and of the pristine forests the Cherokee Indians once called their enchanted land.  And then his clear blue eyes would soften and he would talk of their Irish ancestors who survived war and famine and the long journey to a new land.  They settled in Georgia’s high country and prospered as cotton farmers until a tragic war ended their way of life.
Wendy felt a stirring of her pride, that pride that was her heritage.  In defeat, the O’Connells and their neighbors maintained their personal integrity, their courage and their respect for the land, religion, music and language.  Again, she heard her father’s voice, “Remember, Wendy, you have what you are and no one can take that from you.”
She lifted her chin.  The end of a marriage.  She felt alone and bruised and lost.  Yes, she would survive.  Now she was too hurt, too tired, to try to figure out how.  And she didn’t want to think... couldn’t let herself think.

See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

The Bend In The Road