April 13, 2012

Remembering Eudora Welty on her 103rd Birthday


Have you ever come across a work of writing, or perhaps music that spoke so directly to something inside you that it stirred feelings as if it must have been brought to life just for you? This is how I felt the first time I listened to an audio recording of Eudora Welty reading her short story Why I Live at the P.O.

There’s something about the narrator, Sister, her lively family (including Papa-Daddy, Stella Rondo and Uncle Rondo), and the predicament they find themselves in that entertains me to no end each time I give it a listen. Now it’s impossible for me to read it without hearing the words in Ms. Welty’s Mississippi drawl. If you haven’t read the story, you must do so at once.


Maybe I relate to Eudora Welty because she once described herself as a natural-born observer. I, too, find myself quietly observing much of the time, often at the annoyance of my dinner companions when I am distractedly listening to other diners’ conversations or wondering what their stories are. I like to think this points to the fact that I’m meant to be a writer…or it could be I’m just terribly nosy. 

Today would be Eudora Welty’s 103rd birthday. As it were, she enjoyed a long, rich life and lived to a ripe young age of  92. More than most, Ms. Welty connected with people on a deeper level and had an innate gift for bearing witness to the intricacies of the human spirit, illustrating different aspects of life through both her writing and her photography. To see examples of her photos, visit the Mississippi Museum of Art website.

I shouldn’t speculate, but I like to think Ms. Eudora Welty is having a wonderful birthday today, complete with a giant slab of chess pie and an angel choir. And if you’d like to drink to her memory, that rascal himself Mr. John T. Edge shared a wonderful sounding concoction with a sweet story attached, all of which I think Ms. Welty would approve.

Happy Birthday Eudora Welty & Happy Friday friends!