Remembering an old friend

Published 7:38 pm Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dear Editor,

Well, I knew Kathryn Windham from afar as a child.  She was my mother’s age. Our mother’s were both born in 1918 and lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Her daughter Kitti and I were classmates, A.G. Parrish, Class of ‘65.  I remember her on the school board and attending the musicals and choir programs Kitti and I were in.

When we returned to Selma in 2001, I became familiar with the writer Kathryn Windham and was blessed to be able to attend some of the Story Telling Festivals, see her at the grocery store, etc.

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In fact, one of my favorite memories is helping her load her groceries in her car at the Winn-Dixie on Highland Avenue just a few years back.  It was near Kitti’s birthday and she was telling me that she was going to cook Kitti’s favorite dinner for her birthday!  Fried chicken with all the trimmings.

It was amazing….here was this spry, almost 90 year old cooking a birthday dinner for her daughter!  I loved it and I loved her zest for life, love for people, love for Selma, love for the Lord.

So, I was out of town when I heard of her dying.  We had gone out of town the Wednesday after she was buried.  When we returned, we scoured the papers and did not find anything in any of the STJ’s till Thursday’s.

We thought that was strange.  I really wanted to attend the memorial service at Church Street Methodist.  I knew it would be special and I wanted to connect with my fond memories of Ms. Kathryn.  But, I work midnight shift at the hospital in Montgomery and did not get in bed that Sunday morning till about 10 a.m.

I did not set my clock, but knew if I woke up and felt like moving, I would go.  About 1p.m. I heard a sound like the door opening to the bedroom, but when I opened my eyes, the door was closed.

I thought that my husband was peeping to see if I was up and wanted to get dressed to go.  I got up and looked and he was outside working in the yard.  Well, I thought a minute, laid back down and decided to get up and get dressed to go.  He came in and got cleaned up and we were on our way soon.  On the way to the church

, I told him about the sound I heard and that I thought it was probably Jeffrey coming to wake me to come to the service because he knew I did not want to miss it!

The next week, I found the Tuesday STJ in a tight roll on my desk.  Bracken nor I either one had seen it.

It was the one where the front page was all about Kathryn Tucker Windham.  I do not know how we had missed it before we left out of town, but we did.  So, our friend Mary was right and there was something in Tuesday’s paper after all!  Thank you, Jeffrey, for putting the paper in that strategic place.

Maybe I do believe in ghosts after all!  Where’s that book about you?  I am going to check it out soon!  Thanks, Mrs. Windham for all the things you taught us and continue to teach us!  We love you!

Gail Box Ingram

Valley Grande