My grandmother, Granny, passed away yesterday, February 10th, 2021. Today, the 11th, the world is frozen over here in west Tennessee, which seems fitting, and is a nice reminder to slow down a little bit and reflect.
There is so much, and yet so little, to say about this loss. Little because it’s impossible to capture everything that a person was and meant in language; much because she was and meant so much to so many.
Granny truly helped raise me. Some of my fondest memories from childhood happened in her home. Granny’s house is where I learned to sew, make soap, cook and bake, can, garden, and so much more. There was infinite wisdom to be found in Granny’s kitchen.
This morning I made sausage, scrambled eggs, and english muffins for breakfast. Can you guess where I learned to make that kind of breakfast? Of course, at Granny’s.
Granny was a homesteader before it was a trend. She learned how to cook and sew and feed a family by the sweat of her brow while she was still only a child. She picked cotton in the fields, was born in a place so remote in Arkansas that the road is still gravel (as of a few years ago at least), and she experienced harder times from a young age than many people do in a lifetime.
Even though she lived comfortably by the time I came around, she never gave up the old school wisdom of being thrifty, living within your means, and making things from scratch — with lots and lots of love.
I didn’t realize when I was a kid how much she was teaching me, or how much it would shape who I eventual became (and am still becoming). I just knew that at Granny’s, breakfast was always homemade. Baking was an afternoon past time. Painting was fun, and it didn’t matter if you were “good” or not. Gardening was done in the morning while it was cool, and purple hull peas were shelled on the porch in the shade. And I was spoiled, too. If I needed something, Granny (and Papa) would get it for me. If I wanted a bologna cup for lunch every day, Granny would make it for me. If I wanted to collect moss or worms in the back yard, that’s what I got to do.
Even as an adult, if I didn’t know how to do something, Granny probably knew. She helped me make my husband’s Christmas stocking just last year. There was hardly anything she didn’t know how to do.
Granny was one of the wisest, kindest, best people in the world. I know I’m biased, but it wasn’t just my opinion. Everyone who met her loved her, and she loved everyone, too. She was a helper and a caretaker. She advocated for people who couldn’t advocate for themselves. She was fiery and stubborn, but she wouldn’t just stand idly by if someone was being mistreated. She was a mother and a grandmother to many more people than just her own children and grandchildren.
I was not ready for Granny to go. I wanted at least another ten years with her, but truth be told, no amount of time would have been long enough. Yet I know if I’d asked her, she would have said she was ready to go home. I just wish that I was ready to go on without her.
So here’s to you, Granny. I know you’re watching over me, along with Big Mama, Aunt Pat, and Papa. I’ll miss you until we meet again, and I hope I can make you proud.