Still, They Sing

My mother (standing, far left) and her siblings, l to r: Larry, Sandra, Bobby, Lynn, Donna. Her parents are in the foreground.

My uncle, Lynn Turner, died in 2014. He was my late mother’s youngest brother. When he died, my mother’s youngest sister, my Aunt Donna, asked me to write a poem in Lynn’s memory that she could read at his funeral. Unfortunately, I missed the date. It took me eight years to finish the poem “Still, They Sing.” I’m delighted to say the piece is included in Volume 25: Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel — Appalachia (Un)Masked. But incredibly gratifying is knowing that Donna will be reading the poem in my stead at the launch of Volume 25 on November 20, 2022.

Both of my parents were mountain people. My mother was born in Hazard, Kentucky, and my father in Asheville, North Carolina. My father’s people never left Asheville. But our family did. We landed in Mobile, Alabama, for a couple of years before moving to Jackson, Mississippi, where my sister and I grew up. During our time in Mobile, my mother’s family also moved there. And they stayed. Below is a picture of my uncle Lynn seated. I’m the pale, big-eared boy standing beside him. The photo is dated June 1958. Lynn was twelve; I was eight. My aunt Donna, not pictured, was nine.

Those two years in Mobile with my aunts and uncles, Mom had three brothers and two sisters, were glorious.

After my family moved to Jackson, my grandparents, aunts, and uncles would visit us from time to time. Donna spent some summers with us, wild kids playing in the woods. We had nicknames, favorite games, and special foods. Donna taught me how to make cinnamon toast. I still love it.

My grandparents have passed away, as have my parents. My mother, two uncles, and one aunt have also left us. But what abides are blessed memories of summers and laughter growing up with family. Today, Donna still lives in Mobile. My sister lives in Georgia, and I live in Beersheba, Israel.

All the best,
Gershon Ben-Avraham

Author: Gershon Ben-Avraham

Gershon Ben-Avraham is an American-Israeli writer. He lives in Beersheba, Israel, on the edge of the Negev Desert. He and his wife share their lives with a gentle blue-merle long-haired collie. Ben-Avraham earned an MA in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from Temple University. His short story, “Yoineh Bodek,” (Image) received “Special Mention” in the Pushcart Prize XLlV: Best of the Small Presses 2020 Edition. Kelsay Books published his chapbook “God’s Memory” in 2021. חב"ד‎

One thought

  1. Thanks for the memories with words and pictures. Lynn was a cool dude. For some reason he spent some time in Jackson enough to go to Provine High School. I think I remember him having a car with a truck engine in it. Really loud. From the picture, I remember your grandparents. Of course I remember Donna. Hope she is doing well. I saw a boyhood picture of my lately deceased musical idol Jerry Lee ( what a coincidence) Lewis. He had big ears. Maybe it’s a trait of talented people.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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