On Elvis, Alabama, and Coupons

I drive to Walgreens in a downpour and listen to Elvis, who makes me cry and smile all at once. An old man looks over at me from our stoplight, and he wonders what hip minivan music moves me so. He never would guess Elvis, who reminds me of August.

August is the month I was born and the month this baby inside will be born. August reminds me of Mama Lois, my great-grandmother next door. She had a record player as big as a buffet and record after record of Elvis. She danced like Daisy Duck and had visited Hawaii once. She left the day Elvis got there, so close. He died in August. She always mentioned it.

I go to Walgreen’s because I love a deal, and I’ve taken to liking Extreme Couponing, because of people like my sister-in-law. Only three more months till the baby’s due date, and I drive to save, and I think of Elvis at Mama Lois’s, how my sister and I wore her clip-on earrings and ate our weight in Starbursts, how she saved our Summers, was the spice and the Dr.Pepper.

I never imagined minivan, a notebook full of coupons, Elvis, and the nearness of my 4th son. I never knew how fondly I would remember the childhood I wished away.

I never would have imagined hurting so badly for home during times of trouble either, especially this time while the tornadoes ripped through Alabama, using hundred year oaks to bowl down houses in the historic district.

Many still don’t have electricity. Their sink-water trickles brown. They further learn to love the grill, to stockpile more for next time, and to bid farewell to the deer meat in the freezer. Some have started the slow soak in grief.

My beautiful sister-in-law is a servant-hearted genius and started Couponing for a Cause where she’s asking for donations and your Sunday Paper Coupon Inserts, printable coupons, and any other coupons you find.

She and her home church in Owens Cross Roads are collecting to help the needy surrounding areas in Alabama, to distribute food and supplies. They met in the dark of a Fellowship hall to take communion yesterday morning, their hearts filled with gratitude among the living. You can’t serve from a better place than that.

My sister, Shannon, wrote on the facebook page: “There is no need to clip your coupons! 🙂 Simply grab a few newspapers and stick the inserts in the mail to P.O. Box 217, Owens Cross Roads, AL 35763.”

That’s all we have to do!

Thanks for serving the people and the place that fills my heart with such Southern memories. Maybe by August, life will be filled with different meaning there: hope, good food, and newly planted trees – grandmothers and granddaughters pulling out the music that makes them smile.

About me


What’s Up: New Year and a New Plan
January 13, 2017
Making Room
July 02, 2015
Sue, Esther, and Abigail
February 17, 2014
To Love the Shape of Your Life
January 16, 2014
On Making Community: Part 2
October 01, 2012
On Making Community: Part 1
September 28, 2012
Made for the Party
September 19, 2012
On Community, Suffering, and Hope
November 15, 2011
All I Have
October 26, 2011


Reply May 2, 2011

Thank you so much for posting this. I am in Birmingham and myself and a fellow extreme couponer are swiftly moving across the country and were pondering what to do with our coupon bounty before we leave. Now we have the perfect location...even organized in a binder. )

    Reply May 2, 2011

    McKt! This is amazing! Thank you.

    Couponing for a Cause
    Reply May 3, 2011

    Wow! Thank you!! We are so proud of the support we have seen through this tragedy...not only through this project, but through all that have stepped up in some way to help. Blessed to have so many brothers and sisters willing to lend a hand. Hope you and your family have a safe move to wherever you are headed and know that your coupons are being used to help! :)

Couponing for a Cause
Reply May 2, 2011

Amber- You are amazing. Thank you so so much for sharing this. Just wanted to add to your post that if anyone wants to send a monetary donation to cover the overage after coupons, they can make checks payable to Owens Cross Roads Church of Christ and note that it is for Couponing for a Cause. Giving you a big hug from Alabama!! Love you.

    Reply May 2, 2011

    I love you, too. Thanks for doing this.

Southern Gal
Reply May 2, 2011

A friend's mom lives in Alabama and lost her house in the tornado. So many hurting close to home. This is a lovely way to help those in need. Thank you for sharing.

Elvis reminds me of a green record player, a stack of 45's and two girls dancing as hard as they could to "Teddy Bear", "Good Luck Charm" and crying to "Don't Cry Daddy". When we first married my husband and I bought a Blue Christmas 8-track...30 years ago! I wonder, too, why we wish our childhood away so.

    Reply May 2, 2011

    Southern Gal, I love these memories. I can't believe you've been married 30 years. Wow! Seth and I are headed toward the 12 year mark, and everything about that is good, except ... he does not love Blue Christmas.

    He suffers through my soprano back-up singer skills every year.

Reply May 3, 2011

You made me cry AGAIN! Such good words. I remember your Mama Lois (even though y'all would laugh because I couldn't get her name quite right! ;) ). I've told Jim about her many times as we pass by her house, how we used to walk down there and then walk on to that corner store to get candy. We thought we were SO big!

Reply May 3, 2011

Tweeted for you sweetie. I don't get the paper, but if I see any extra coupons anywhere, I'll mail them your way! I, too, love me some Walgreens. I'd love your extreme couponing tips. I've never been able to figure it out.

Reply May 3, 2011

Shared this on facebook...what a great idea your sister had!

amy turn sharp
Reply May 3, 2011

i wanna be good like u. xo

Reply May 4, 2011

Yes. Amen. Let me go see if I can find me some circulars!

Reply September 23, 2011

Just stumbled over via High Calling.
I am in Alabama and I watched the tornadoes tear through Tuscaloosa on the news. They missed me here in Clay County, but there was so much devastation elsewhere. Bless your SIL's heart for her service to these folks.

I've never heard of Owen's Crossroads but now will have to look it up.

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