So I was up in Heaven, young again and having the time of my life (death), a fugitive on the run from St. Peter, who had grabbed me at the pearly gates, seeking to detain me because my time was not yet.

And lo, the Lord pressed upon the heart of my own preacher back home to climb up Jacob's ladder and coax me back down to earth.

He took me by the hand and he said unto me, "Come back down to earth, Trixie."

And I said to him, "Get your ole hand off me! No tellin' where it's been!"

"Trixie, please come home. We need you at South Bostic Baptist."

"You mean you need that five dollar bill I put in the plate every Sunday!"

But my mind took to thinking of some wild oats I hadn't sowed yet, a few naughty words not yet spoken, a few ugly deeds left undone, some gossip not yet spread, some **** not yet started.

And I rose up with a shout and declared, "I'll think about it."

Y'all stay tuned.

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Copyright 2008/2009 by Trixie Goforth and Sherry Austin, that gal who helps her out.

Goodbye for Now

Look at that face over there to the left. That's me in Heaven, where all things become nifty and new.

It's not the prettiest face you've ever seen, but is it not one of the sweetest and most satisfied?

"Farther along we'll know all about it," the old song goes. "Farther along, we'll understand why..."

Oh, sweet, sweet hope of the ages!

Somebody wrote in to say my face looked all peaceful like the Buddha's when he was sitting under a tree and figured out he had it all figured out, or figured out he didn't have it figured out or couldn't ever figure it out, so he just quit trying and decided to "zen out" and "go with the flow."

And to that I say "to each his own," but deliver me from having to tote around that big Buddha belly!

And look at that Clairol Loving Care helmet hair!

Every hair in place. Looks painted on, don't it?

Yes, that's me, looking again like I did in the prime of my life, when hope sprung like an eternal bed spring from my breast.

And now my hope is satisfied.

And yet...and yet, my heart longs for home and the sight and smell of the sweet earth. And for the sight and smell of y'all. Well some of y'all.

Make yourself at home until I come back. Sit in the shade of the porch or come on in--y'all don't have to knock.

Get the clothes in off the line if it looks like rain. Do you mind? And be sure to help yourself to the cornbread on the stove.

A Taste of Heaven: I Died and Went to Heaven, Part Three

{Including a recipe for Heavenly Ambrosia! Celebrity names in bold!}

I know that picture of me looking like Mother Maybelle Carter on the moon is the same one I put up last time, but there’s a reason for it so y’all keep your teeth in your mouth!

My last write-up ("Vanity, Vanity, All is Vanity") was going to be all about how I came to look like I was dressed up for the prom in that long dress and tiara, how I dropped forty years and about half that many pounds and came to look fine and lovely like I do in that picture instead of like the old white-haired, flap-bosomed granny in a Dollar Store housedress that you all know and love.

So I put up that picture with the last write-up. But then I got the idea some of you thought my write-ups were too long, so I whacked off the part of the story which you are now privileged to read. And so there's the picture again so it'll all make sense.

Meanwhile, some of you emailed to say you liked my posts on the long side! Will y'all make up your minds? Anyhow, now I know that some of you are a whole lot smarter and have a lot more patience than I’ve heretofore given you credit for.


So here’s what happened next. (If you don’t know what happened before, scroll down to parts one and two or click here for part one and here for part two.)

But basicially, I died, went to Heaven, and gave St. Peter the slip. I ran past the gates of Heaven. I ran until at last the green earth under my feet became flecked with gold, and soon my happy feet bounced upon a street of gold and my heart leapt up as I beheld a rainbow in the sky, though I'd not yet seen a drop of rain, and in the distance the shining Celestial City, which glittered and shimmered like a star, danced in the never-fading light.

And I came upon a street fair on the outskirts of that city. Since I'd always loved street fairs and flea markets and parades, I was hit by the realization that Heaven is custom-tailored for each of us.

It's one thing for Billy Graham and another for the Pope. One for Dolly Parton and another for Dolly the Llama. One for Howdy Doody and another for Donald Duck. One for Tom Cruise, and yet another for Hoss Cartwright and Colonel Sanders.

(One for myself, another for Cloris Bell--I wished.)

And I realized, too, that for someone as simple-minded as I am, and as short on taste, my Heaven was probably pretty easy and economical to design.

I ran to a booth that said "Information." Two seraphim, which are six-winged angels with big muscles like the men on the covers of romance novels, were manning the booth.

"What is the meaning of life?" I asked them. "Why is there evil and suffering and death? Does everything really happen for a reason? Is there life on other planets? Was it Roosevelt's New Deal or World War II that got us out of the Great Depression? Is the Lord a Republican or Democrat or Libertarian? Is the Pope Catholic? It wasn't God who made honky tonk angels?"

And the seraphim looked at each other, then looked at me and shrugged.

And I walked away unsatisfied, remembering the old hymn we used to sing in the Baptist Church, which hymn proclaimed that all our questions will be answered when we step behind the Gates: "We shall understand it better by and by!" that song went, and that had ever been my most fervent hope.

But as I walked, I came to understand that had I learned the answer to even one of those questions, I would have got the big head and started thinking I was some kind of a prophet or something and would have gone back to earth determined to start my own political party or TV network or religion, and Lord knows there's enough of them already.

And then a voice came booming out of the sky. It said, "Oh taste and see!"

So I tried to quiet the questions in my head and simply walk along and partake of the little delights provided for me.

And at the next booth, two little cherubim held back a shimmering curtain and in little burbling voices like the Munchkins on the Wizard of Oz, they bid me step behind it, and choose the age I wanted to be and how I wanted to look and what service I wanted to perform for all eternity, although I could change it at any time, which I thought was mighty convenient.

And I chose to be thirty-nine years old because at that age, after years of being a little Tammy Wynette standing by my man, (and a little Hillary Clinton), I'd kicked my first husband out of the house and got a job making my own money at the Green Stamp Store.

And I chose to wear a long, flowing garment, and to have an oval head full of dark hair like I used to have, but piled on my head and adorned with a tiara--all because I'd never gone to the prom or had a real dress-up wedding.

And since I'd never taken piano or guitar lessons, and had always regretted it, I elected to play a harp, though in the end I chose a little lyre over a big Harpo Marx-style harp because it was lightweight and more portable and reminded me of the autoharp that Mother Maybelle Carter used to play.

And I was about to run off with my lyre in search of the perfect cloud, when scents most heavenly lured me to a big tent under which sat tables laden with squash and broccoli-cheese casseroles and those congealed fruit salads which are so popular at church suppers on earth.

And outside the tents stood booths where angels offered Angel Food Cake ("Accept no imitations!" the sign read) and white Divinity and Heavenly Ambrosia, which was far and beyond any I'd ever made or tasted.

And I ate and ate, somehow knowing I'd gain not a pound and my blood sugar wouldn't go up, and that I was not being a hog and need not feel guilty, that all the hungry in the world would be fed if we would find a way to do it, and that somehow all would be well, all would be well, all manner of things would be well.

And I realized I had learned more from eating than from all my other explorations.

And I knew if I could only remember what I learned I could go back to earth and proclaim it to the multiudes the world over who adore me and read my blog without fail, and I could use what days I had left to change the whole world for the better, and would be glad to do it, but with my mind the way it is here lately, I forgot everything within about ten minutes, except that part about tasting and seeing.

And this:

No matter what your mama told you, it is possible to make a church supper casserole without cream of mushroom soup, and fruit salad without Jello and Cool Whip, and here's proof if you need it:

Heavenly Ambrosia

Peel the sections from two or three navel oranges
or about six to eight little clementines.
It'll taste best if you peel the skin off the orange sections.
If you use clementines with their tender little membranes, don't
peel off the skin, but cut each section in half or thirds.

Throw the oranges pieces in a bowl
with a couple of cups of chopped and drained fresh pineapple.

And a cup of fresh-grated coconut (the kind that starts out as a hairy brown head you have to chase around with a hammer and crack open to get the meat)
or frozen coconut.

Mix it all up with a couple of cups of miniature marshmallows
and one carton (about 16 ounces) of sour cream.

Throw in a cup or two of chopped pecans if you want to.
Throw in some fresh cherries (do I have to tell y'all to take out the pits?)
if you've got some.
Or use maraschino cherries from a jar if you have to, drain them good.

Add a little sugar if you want it sweeter.
Stir it all up, chill it in the refrigerator and let the flavors marry,
and you'll get a taste of Heaven just like I did,
but without the hassle of travel.

(And you can use canned stuff if you want to.
It won't taste like Seventh Heaven, but it'll still be not of this earth.)


Copyright 2008/2009 Trixie Goforth and Sherry Austin, that gal who helps her out.

You can buy THE DAYS BETWEEN THE YEARS, that book about my life, and other books by Sherry Austin, right here. They're brand new, we can autograph and personalize them for you, too.

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