Saturday, February 23, 2008
I've been thinking about my Great grandmother quite a bit lately. She is 101 and will be 102 in October of this year. This is a picture of her on her 100th birthday (and a gratuitous shot of my hunky cousin Jeremy hugging her).
She does quite well, lives alone but has either my great aunt Sylvia (Granny's younger daughter) or my grandmother, whom we call Mamaw who is the elder of the two daughters.
Anyway, Granny usually has either one of them stay with her or she stays at their homes.
Granny is quite independent, even being blind from macular degeneration and having a bad knee, she still gets around well enough to be able to cook, garden, and care for herself. Her mind is as sharp as ever and I miss her terribly.
The reason she is my hero is because of the incredible life she's lead. She was sort of engaged to a young man who never asked her to marry him...so they didn't marry, and instead she married my great grandfather, Levi. I'm told it was a whirlwind romance of 3 days - though this story varies depending on who is telling it.
Being born in 1906, she didn't have the benefit of modern conveniences, clothes washed by hand and all those other things we take for granted. At one point she and granddaddy owned a gas station, then granddaddy worked for the railroad and Granny went to work at Belk's department store. I believe she was there over 30 years.
After she retired, she went to work for my uncle washing dishes at his restaurant....I think she did this until she was in her mid 80's, perhaps even later. I'll have to ask her when I call her this weekend. She kept driving until she was about 95 when her macular degeneration got too bad, though she'd only driven during the day for many many years - I think she had trouble seeing at night due to cataracts that were of course removed in her 70's giving her 20/20 vision!
She dealt with a hard drinking husband who passed away in 1976, she bore 2 daughters, has 6 grand children, 16 great-grand children, and there are somewhere around 10 or 12 great-great-grandchildren, once again....it's way too many to keep count since I'm not very close to a few of my cousins and don't know exactly how many children they have....plus there might be a step-child or two involved as well.
Granny is amazing! The most amazing thing though is that just before I moved here, my Aunt Sylvia took me aside and told me that if I didn't already know it then she figured she should tell me how hard it was going to be on Granny for me to leave...because I was her favorite.
Whaaaaaa??????? Ok, I've come to terms with it now, but talk about shock! I've never been anyone's favorite anything. But knowing I was Granny's favorite great-grandchild made me feel something special. It's not a thing I can describe. It isn't tangible. It's just there.
If from this point on in life I was alone, I would still know that I'm loved by the one person who has had the most impact on my life. Heck, this is the lady that taught me that "you KNOW collard greens are done 'cuz they look slick".
Ok, so that doesn't mean much to most people, but when one's Granny teaches you to cook by taste, touch, smell, and sight it means a hell of a lot.