How Did I Get Here, And Where Is The Next Turn?

Greetings and salutations to all who deem this worthy of your time...

Brought up May 21, 2013

My Granny

Lisa, actually, my grandmother's house was not in bad shape.Yes, there were many things that needed repaired, when she lived there, but she didn't have the money, or refused to pay for 'fancy stuff.' My mother and stepdad were actually living in the house for a time after my grandmother passed. Granny put flooring down that was easy for her to clean. My mom is NOT in her eighties, but a proud woman in her 60s who looks almost my age.The eighty+ folks are the distant cousins who always find the time to make their way to the reunions when some who are younger and live much closer can't. For some, I guess family has a different meaning than it does for others. As for the rest, well, to each his own.

My grandmother was a simple country woman with simple, country tastes. A child felt welcome to play at her house, tracking mud, and then mopping it up themselves with her stern supervision. What my cousin has done is a citified idea of country that, though lovely, does not come close to what my grandmother would have wanted. The best thing of the remodel is the bathroom. It is wonderful. Sadly, I wish we could have done a bit of work on her original for her while Granny was living. It was done by my late uncle when my grandmother was still using an out house back in the late 1960s. That thing scared the life out of me as a child. What I missed most was the bar. It was a little shabby, I guess, but I have great memories of being parked on a stool, leaning back on the bar, and watching my aunts and uncles play cards on Christmas visits, way into the wee hours. I miss my uncle's deep chuckle as he would hold all his cards in his hands until the last minute in Rummy, and the others chewing him out for it. I really still miss him, too.

Anyway, reading Lisa's messages made me think a bit. My cousin made the house her own, and I admire her work. It must have cost a fortune, even if one were to do some of the work themselves.

My grandmother was very dear to me. I have fond memories that can not be destroyed by a crow bar and a coat of paint. She was gossipy, meddlesome, and at times infuriating, but had one of the kindest hearts of anyone I know. I hope I can come close to her loving gentleness.

See, my grandmother was widowed in her forties. She had two daughters still at home, and, for a time, my mother and me. She struggled to get by, selling timber off the land to pay off it's mortgage.

I asked Granny once why she never remarried. I hated the idea that she was alone. She said simply, "I had the man I wanted. When he died, I didn't want another one."

My Granny was a product of her times. Born in the early part of the 1900s, she was a country girl, the daughter of a preacher. Her mother died when Granny was 9. In fact, of 4 children, my grandmother was the sole survivor. Her grandmother helped raise her.

It was not an easy life, but my grandmother had a way of telling stories of her life that would make one laugh til they cried and cry til they could not help but laugh. I still wish I had had the sense to write some of them down 15 years ago when she was still sharp and before the stroke that took most of her from us before she actually passed away. She was shy and quiet in strange settings, but at her home, she could talk for hours.

In later years, as she could no longer tend her flowers or put in a garden, she spent her time gossiping on the phone, and trying to run her family's lives. Some were not amused, and many of them avoided her, which broke her heart. Those of us who continued to visit were told (second or third hand) of the wonderful lives the others were leading. We began to understand that, even if they didn't visit, she was proud of all her family. I was often jealous of her attention, but learned later that she was proud of me, too, even if I didn't have the fancy life. She told me once she was proud of my spirit (or as she put it, my 'fight') and good heart, which touched me to the core, and made me want to continue to make her proud. I hope I have.

The day she passed from this life to the next, I held her hand, and stroked her arm. Even heavily sedated, she knew someone who loved her was there, because she became agitated if I stopped. It was the least I could do for this woman who was a big chunk of my world.

Anyway, Granny may not have had a lot of expensive things, or lived a life that most would call great, but in her simple, true to herself way, she was a great lady. I miss her every day, and will probably miss her until I get the chance to hug her again.


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