Dorothy B. Little
Born in New York, raised in Chicago and spent several years of my adult life in Cleveland categorizes me as a Yankee. The loss of my husband and my mother made me realize that I wanted to be near my children. This was a dilemma since one son lives in San Diego, the other son lives in Richmond, Virginia and my daughter lives in Birmingham. Well, my daughter won the lottery and got her mother as the prize. So I packed up my house and headed down south.
It was an excellent choice. Not only was I able to spend time with my daughter and her family, but I also fell into the warmth and congeniality of the South. I remember walking into a department store in the mall one day and heard someone say “good morning”. I looked around to see who had greeted me and was shocked when I realized it was a salesperson and that was the only the start. People smiled, made eye contact, and greeted me wherever I went. These small gestures made for such a pleasant transition to my new home, Birmingham, Alabama.
Of course, the various landscapes took my breath away. The beauty surrounded me. It was nothing like the plains states from which I came. Hills, valleys, blue skies, flowering trees and shrubs presented a picture which instilled a peaceful calm within me. Although the rather windy roads and lack of street signs definitely sent me on some rather interesting and unplanned side trips.
Birmingham is such a great place. It is centrally located to other parts of the state. Only a five- hour drive and I am at the Gulf Coast. Many people do not realize that Alabama offers a varied topography. The state has rivers and mountains in the North and the beaches in the South and Wiregrass areas to the east. Once at the gulf a calmness again came over me as I walked on the white sand and waded in the clear blue water. I watched beautiful sunsets and ate some really great seafood. The shore keeps calling me back and I have answered and returned several times. Of course, I plan several more visits to the water.
Since I have been here, I also have discovered “the Shoals” and absolutely fell in love with the area. There are so many hidden treasures such as Tom Hendrix’s wall that sits just off of the Natchez Trace Parkway. His story of his great grandmother and her plight moved me in such a way that it touched me to my very core. When she was 16 years old she and her sister were rounded up to walk the Trail of Tears from northern Alabama to the reservations in Oklahoma. Once there she escaped by herself to return to the “singing river”. The Wall represents her journey to the reservation and her journey home. Mr. Hendrix keeps her story alive through this stone wall. His work of love has been placed on the National Historic Register.
And then, of course there is the music. It is alive and well in the Shoals, Muscle Shoals in particular. It gives another example as to why the Tennessee River is called the “Singing River”. Being a bit of a music junkie, I had to tour a couple of the old recording studios, 3614 Jackson Highway (Muscle Shoals Sound) and Fame studios. It’s hard to believe so many singers and songwriters came to or are from this area. Aretha got her start there and so many stars recorded in these studios, like the Stones, Wilson Pickett and Cher just to name a few.
I have only been in Alabama for 6 years and am constantly learning more about this wonderful State in the South. It is really a best -kept secret.
War Eagle, err Roll Tide……… go Bears!!!!