Mummy Rummy, Anyone?

By: qwerty53

Apr 07 2008

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Category: AL, Helena, Uncategorized

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Focal Length:36mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D70

How about a quick game of Pharaoh Tic-Tac-Toe? Frances Parrish will be glad to play with you or just ‘show and tell’ her extensive collection of all things Egyptian! What time is it? Take a glance at the King Tut clock. Headed for a swim? Grab the Isis beach towel! No matter the occasion, no matter the task, at Frances’ desk there is likely to be an Egyptian-themed tool at hand.

Take a note on the Nefertiti notepad. Open your envelope with an ankh-handled letter opener. Even her typewriter is covered in a Egyptian motif fabric custom created by her niece, Debbie Cates. No need to count sheep to sleep, just recite the litany of gods and goddesses from the papyrus poster on the wall. Yes, in case you wonder, Frances has actually been to Egypt -back in 1994. She would be on the plane again tomorrow given the opportunity.

Behind her desk at the City Office where she assists Mayor Sonny Penhale from 8-12 each day, she will be adorned in her gold ankh earrings and her cartouche necklace, which reads ‘Frances’ on the front and ‘Parrish’ in hieroglyphics on the back. A cartouche is an oblong enclosure indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. Cartouches displaying the name of a king were placed in tombs, a nameplate of sorts, and were often important archaeological tools for dating the tomb and its contents.

Her many assorted pyramids, acquired through the years from family and friends, range in size from an engraved 1.5 inch stone version to a three-foot tall lighted pyramid lantern. She has snow-globe pyramids that swish the golden sand of the desert around inside. A special favorite pyramid, featuring an ornate base within which glows a lighted statue of Horus was a gift from her longtime and close friend, Helena Elementary’s well-loved librarian, Jane Holmes.

The youngest of eight siblings, four boys and four girls, Frances grew up in Maylene, AL, and is the matriarch of a fine lineage that includes her three sons, six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. Frances has become something of an institution in Helena since she began as Helena’s City Clerk in 1968. She shares her 1920’s clapboard home with two cats and her Alaskan husky, Queen. Queen has recently succeeded her first husky, King, with her for seventeen years. When she finds time, she has a lifetime of photographs with which she intends to fill up her awaiting stack of empty albums.
On Frances’ kitchen wall, papered in a large-scale world map, hangs her Bellydance Superstars calendar. Inside, in luxuriously colorful costume, is Petite Jamilla, her granddaughter who travels worldwide with the touring dance company. The only performer of the Double Veil, she also executes Sufi like Trance Spinning with modern Rai and Arab Rap music and performs a cross- cultural combination of Highland Sword and Fling dancing with Bellydance while playing the Scottish Highland bagpipes to a Middle Eastern song. Frances just smiles, noting “she came out of the womb dancing!” Online you can view Petite Jamilla on YouTube as well as on her MySpace post and

Traveling with the Metaphysical Society to Egypt, Frances tells of the group’s nighttime visit to the depths of a private pyramid, where, she says, she felt a unique vibrational energy and where each, in turn, had the experience of lying down in a real sarcophagus. She has also visited Indonesia with the same group and just last year took an Alaskan cruise with her traveling companion Edna Erle Goodwin. This summer they will head west in the USA to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas to visit the Mormon Temple with tour organizer, Louise Jones. (Call 663-3060 for more info.)

At seventy-five, Frances has unapologetically relegated keeping a perfect dust-free house to the bottom of her priority list! “One lifetime is not enough to learn all we need to learn,” she believes, but this one has been a good one, and she intends to squeeze from it every last drop of enjoyment!

Photos & Commentary

Copyright 2008
Laura Brookhart


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