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.