My grandmother…

How can you describe in a few simple paragraphs a woman that, I realized as an adult, I barely knew.  Blessie Davis died at 100 years old when I was 21.  Of the 13 children she gave birth to, only four were still alive at her funeral.  It took me a few years to figure this out as I never saw her cry or be afraid or be anything really other than a strong woman.  Yet she buried nine children.  Burying one son 30 years ago still causes me pain.

I was her favorite.  She probably had around 50 to 60 grandchildren but I know, without a doubt, I was her favorite.  My father, George, was her youngest son and died suddenly and tragically in a car accident.  I was his only child.  Even at 100 years old, when she could no longer see and was unaware of a lot of things, she knew my voice and spoke clearly to me hours before she passed away.  I firmly believe she waited to see me before she died.  She was my granny always and my ‘mama’ before I knew better.  I can remember calling her that when I was about four.

I also can remember when she was too sick to get out of bed when I was about five.  I stood on an orange crate to cook us breakfast as she told me what to do from her bed.  I made oatmeal, raisin bread toast and coffee.  The raisin bread toast was my one thing that I got to pick from the grocery store.  Looking back with adult eyes, I wonder what she gave up so that she could indulge me this luxury.

For my fifth birthday, she bought me a TV.  I realize now that she probably bought “us” a TV but she said it was my birthday present and, when I had to go live with my uncle and his wife, I insisted that my TV go with me.  But I was not allowed to watch it and I realize now, I had taken it from her.  The things we do as children, the things adults do for us children, the little things that you never notice – there were probably hundreds of things I never noticed that my grandmother gave to me.

We had a calf once that grew into a cow.  Her name was Buttercup.  One day when I came home from first grade, Buttercup was gone.  I was told she had needed a bigger farm to live on.  I understand now, the meat we had afterwards was Buttercup.  But at the time, I was content with what I was told.  And life went on.

My grandmother was born in 1882.  I wish I’d been old enough to have asked all the right questions about what life was like back then, about what my grandfather was like, etc. I didn’t even realize that there were such things as grandfathers until I was much older.  It just simply never occurred to me.  She gave me laughter and discipline and love, much much love.  There were hugs and kisses and I never once doubted that she was my protector, my mother, my entire world for those first six years.  What I wouldn’t give for a single day to sit and talk with her again.

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