Blog – November 2022

Fall Into Family

| Do you decorate the front porch, staircase, or dining table? Or, do you tend to leave it with the same motif (if any) year-round? Spellbound by this photograph, I imagined an offer coming forth such as “Entrer Vous.” If only my front doorstep was as intriguing! Snapping out of my trance, my peepers ascended the steep stairway in the image toward the burnt crimson front door and rustic brass knocker. The variety between pumpkins, gourds, flowers, cranberry garland, and sprigs of greenery make this a fabulous transitional entryway before the December holidays. Inspirational ideas for a table centerpiece perhaps.

FALL DECORATING IDEA | Photo by Sasha Prasastika on

And on the decorating note, while I’ve still got Georgia on my mind from a recent trip, I witnessed a spiced-up porch and entryway at my niece’s abode! Stepping over the threshold, I felt very much at home. My eyes pivoted to the right catching sight of a Fall-inspired table centerpiece. It was nice to see my sister had passed along the decorating tradition. And the visit had just begun!

Between the four-year-old’s exuberance at everything new, decorating for Halloween, endearing conversations about family past and present, along with a few silly games, the initial welcome mat had done the trick. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention nephew Tracy’s delectable grilled entrees each evening. My mouth is still watering from the gastro delights. With a couple of side excursions out and about, this auntie hasn’t stopped grinning at her fortune. What a comfort to spend time with precious relatives. I’m already planning next year’s trip. #gratefulauntie


| During my recent family visit, we ventured out to the Callaway Plantation in Washington, GA, about a 45-minute drive from their home. Albeit a two-fold trip, both educational and the annual Mule Day celebration, an encounter with a middle-aged woman is something I will never forget. It’s a story unto itself.

As the girls and I meandered past and around several smaller cabins that housed the slaves and their families, in and out of various structures, I spotted an African-American woman kneeling on the pine straw off to the side of one of the cabins. I watched her brush her hand over the straw, just skimming the dirt. Her head was slightly bowed. It sent my mind adrift. Is she possibly praying? It stirred a sympathetic feeling as my mind wandered but the kiddos proceeded to break my train of thought with sheer excitement. They pointed to the main residence just ahead eager to have a look inside.

Eventually passing through the crowds, we made our way to the second story to view the upstairs bedrooms. While waiting our turn in line, something niggled at me to turn around. The same woman I had noticed kneeling was standing all alone behind me. Her mood appeared a bit somber but not distraught. When the children and I were finished peering in the last room, I turned towards her and our eyes met.

“I noticed you kneeling by the last cabin. Were you praying?” She nodded as her eyes started welling up.

I continued, “Are you all alone?”

A tear dropped from the corner of her eye as she clutched a hand to her chest. Her gasp was visible. She looked like she was about to crumble. I leaned in to offer her a hug and she reciprocated.

“Thank you. Yes, I came by myself up from Atlanta,” she said.

When she paused for a brief moment, I was surprised when she continued.

“My great-great-grandfather lived in that same cabin where you saw me kneeling. Because of him, here I am,” she said with unexpected honesty.

The gratitude she expressed for her ancestor was obvious when her once tear-riddled cheeks dried up and brightened into a smile. Perhaps there was an acceptance of his perseverance but certainly, there was a newfound admiration.

After a few seconds of standing with outstretched arms, I slowly inhaled and steadied myself. The magnitude of her story surged through me. I thanked her for sharing the purpose of her solo trek and intimate story. Both knowing it was time to move on, I wished her well on her journey.

I caught up to my nieces waiting for me at the base of the stairs. They were more than curious.

“Who was that woman? What were you talking about?”

The little ones are still a bit too young to fully understand, but one day maybe they’ll remember this visit. With a broad grin, I kept it brief.

“It was an unbelievable encounter, girls. Long, long ago, her family lived in one of those small cabins. She shared quite an emotional and personal story.”

“Aunt Toby, you were meant to be there for her,” the eldest niece said.

I’ll never know why our paths crossed but it’s always nice to find an extra shoulder when necessary.

We retraced our steps past the butter churners, blacksmiths, shops, and mules en route to our vehicle. Lagging a few paces behind, I reflected on that encounter. My oh my, how times have changed, and thank goodness! I felt privileged to have a beautiful, strong woman confide in me. What a personal life-changing event!


Photo Challenge Corner (double-header)

Theme | Perfect Shot

| There is nothing so rewarding as watching a child jump for joy after comprehending the knack of the game. As though she was a champion, my camera caught the candid exhilarating cheer of yeah just as Hannah’s golf ball plopped in the cup. Each hole at the Putt-Putt mini golf center was met with much of the same, a contagious enthusiasm. For that, I had to call this pic the Perfect Shot, both in sportsmanship and the impromptu lens capture. (She did manage to get a hole-in-one a couple of holes later. Champ!)

Theme | Doorway

| Meandering past the mules at the plantation, the blacksmith’s pounding pierced our chatter. Something as simple as shoes for a mule or horse piqued the girls’ interest. To comprehend the iron-forged horseshoes were to be placed on the hooves was a big leap for the youngsters but soon formed a new understanding of the process. Educational for sure! Later when I reviewed my photos, I realized the barn doorway height behind the blacksmith was rather tall. Peering deeper, I wished we had been allowed inside since the second-story window indicated it was a much larger barn than originally thought. The possibility of antiquated tools and equipment hanging from the rafters and along the side hooks stimulated Toby the Explorer. A good ole dusty building filled with treasures handled centuries ago would have sent my snooping into overdrive.

To view ALL Saturday #2022picoftheweek photo challenge posts, visit my Instagram account @thebrookelynnadventures or @tobyawilliams.

Note: I am a participant only and not affiliated with the weekly photo contest created by

We are grateful for your visit to our site today. May the season of Thanksgiving bring the gift of comfort to you and yours!

Published by Toby A. Williams | Author

Children's Books | MG Fiction | Williams Writes Blog

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