May 8, 2014 10:19:46 AM
The sun had nearly set Tuesday in Caledonia and in a gravel driveway that leads to a trailer park, there she was, her body swaying, her head tilted back. She looked almost peaceful, dancing alone.
"If I'm feeling down and blue, why not?" she said. "I can dance all day long."
She said her name is Patricia Price and dancing is what she does when trouble comes on her. She dances a lot.
Price is 67, a touch over five feet tall and weighs 90 pounds. She has a pirate's posture. In one hand was a portable CD player and in the other was a pack of Pall Malls. She was wearing cheap pink sunglasses and cut-off jeans as her feet stepped in time with a $6 CD of Aretha Franklin's greatest hits.
Price is from Missouri.
Nearly a decade ago her husband of 40 years died in a car crash. He had bought her a Chrysler convertible for her birthday and had gone to show it off when it happened, she said. It was Sept. 25, 2004. Two days later, Price turned 57.
"I told my friend if I'm going to have a birthday party like that, I don't want no more," she said.
They had owned a home and assembled a life together. But a bad stretch of gambling following his death left Price broke and what was left of what they had fell apart.
"I blew it," she said.
She eventually found her way to Columbus, where she lived in a mobile home, paying $500 a month. One day she was in her garden and a man passed by. They developed a relationship before she fell behind on her rent and got evicted two months ago. So they came to Caledonia, where he lives. Then their relationship fell apart and she moved into this place off of Main Street with some folks she knows. It's a temporary thing, and Price said she does not know what comes next.
On Tuesday, like on most other days, she put on her sunglasses and went to the driveway with her music.
"I just try to clear my mind of everything that ever happened to me," she said.
The song she was listening to goes:
I ain't gonna do you wrong, while you're gone
Ain't gonna do you wrong, 'cause I don't wanna
She began dancing. Her feet kept moving, and she made it from the front of the mobile home up the driveway, out to the edge of Main Street, and then back again, alone, bobbing her head to music only she could hear.
She hopes to one day move back to her place in Columbus. She planted roses there.
"They're blooming right now," she said.
William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.
1. Two local nonprofits get Dutch Oil grants COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Industrial park legal challenge will delay project STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY