Tag Archives: grandma

MIA and a Tangled Tuesday

22 Oct

I’ve been MIA…missing blogging, but still in action. We’ve traveled to Northwest Arkansas for War Eagle Craft Fair, come close to fisticuffs, shopped, and considered much.

Weariness is a familiar word and feeling.

Recently Falon discovered the six word memoir. I was intrigued. At breakfast one morning over our travel weekend, we chose ‘Grandma’ as the topic of the six word memoir. I thought to share a couple of them. So here’s to Grandma Effie.

Cake-muffin making trailer park queen. by Falon

Married to the same man twice. by Falon

Pig eating, greens picking, cornbread gourmet. by Kathy

Practically deaf but not quite dumb. by Falon

Falon was on a roll.

Snuff dippin’, spit can totin’, grandma. by Kathy

Grandma was definitely a character worthy of a memoir.

Pinterest Project #11, Milk, and Snakes

13 Nov

My daughter is my bestest friend. She’s gone so far as to agree when the time comes and my mental faculties desert me, she’ll pull the trigger and put me out of her misery. Ain’t she sweet?

We actually hang out together. Saturday we spent the afternoon at Holiday House. It’s a huge market hosted by the Junior League. We wandered through the crowds, spent a little money, checked all the marvelous handmade offerings, and tasted the dips and soups and margarita mixes. That last one was way cool.

I blame my inner ear problem for the stumbling gait I developed as we left the convention center. That pesky inner ear has gathered fluid. And that’s my story, I’m sticking to it.

Then we shared a meal. Really. We shared a sandwich and some cheese dip.

Sunday she came over for Craft Day. She is the designer for today’s Pinterest inspired project. So kudos to Alexis (I call her by her middle name…Falon) Sanghera for Project #11, our inspirational Christmas tree. Find the simple instructions here.

O Christmas Tree

This morning I left the house to buy more green paint and a foot for my sewing machine. I lost the one I removed to make buttonholes. I seem to have a penchant for misplacing things. It’s somewhere in there. I know it.

That foot might have joined the screwdrivers, pins, wrenches, various brushes, pieces to my Dremel, my Xacto knife….

Milk was up this morning. I guess the cows have gone on strike.

Have you ever had milk, full cream, brought in fresh off the cow? I think one of my first memories is of my grandfather bringing a galvanized bucket of milk into the dining room of their old farm house. He passed me in my high chair. My grandmother stopped him and dipped a small glass just for me. Mmmmm. He made sausage and grew cotton.

The house was a rock house. It still stands. There was a front stoop with steps on both sides leading to the front door. I remember a root cellar and the weird little knob on the door. It was small and oval and metal and just about the right size for a kid hand.

I remember being sent to the cotton fields with a mason jar of water for Grandpa. I would run across the wooden bridge as though chased by demons. I was terrified and convinced snakes lived in great numbers under that bridge on the banks of the creek.

I hate snakes. I hate looking at them at the zoo. They may be behind glass, but they’re still snakes. Freud might have diagnosed me with an overwhelming case of penis envy.

<big sigh>

We have Copperheads here. I ran over one with the lawn mower about 13 summers ago. When I saw it, I ran like hell from the barn to the house, screaming all the way. Once I regained my breath I realized there was no one to deal with it but me.

I was in no hurry, but the old lawnmower was running.

My skin crawled all the way back to the barn. Of course the snake was pretty much shredded, but I watched closely for some time. If that puppy moved I was headed to the house again.

It didn’t move.

Bob found one shortly after he moved here. He wanted to play with it. I stood on the porch repeatedly demanding he kill it. It got away. I didn’t go to that side of the house for six months or so.

I hate snakes.

Did I tell you I hate snakes?

I have learned to let King snakes go. They kill Copperheads. It only took 40-something years.

I learned to eat turnip greens in less time.

And, no, I will never eat snake.

Time Travel, Murder Most Heinous, and Insults

25 Oct

 

We are all time travelers.

On Monday I reminisced about my great-grandmothers. Today it occurred to me that through our fore-fathers and mothers and through our progeny, we are all time travelers.

What a thought, right? Just imagine the oldest relative you have or with whom you’ve had a relationship.  Then imagine how they lived, where they lived, the time period. What sort of amazing discoveries were made then? How did you great-grandfather make his living? Was he a farmer, an entrepreneur, a ship’s captain?

Was your great-great-grandmother an activist for women’s right to vote? Did she sport men’s pants or bloomers before her time? Could she hunt or fish?  Did she develop a recipe that is now famous and widely used? Did she raise 12 kids and die peacefully at home? Did those kids do things that are awe-inspiring?  Of course they did. They LIVED.

And in the living they have and will take you through time.

Aren’t you fortunate? Traveling through time will garner so much information. It can be a deeply personal tidbit or an historical perspective. All we have to do is ask.  Ask your relatives. Ask their friends. Ask your next door neighbor. They’ll assist with the travel plans.

My favorite personal tidbit was related to me by a distant cousin.  My mom was in poor health, and wished to make contact with some of her father’s descendants.  These people were little known to her. Her father wasn’t part of her life. We found the closest cousins still living in her home town with help from my aunt on my father’s side.  I drove her there. They were older and retired. They were happy to share pictures and stories. It was a fascinating visit.

The best story was about my great-grandfather.  He committed murder and was imprisoned. The victim’s crime?  He insulted great-grandpa’s wife. We have deliberated and speculated on the true meaning of ‘insult’ in this particular situation.  It’s been a brain tickler.

The old guy spent some time behind bars, but as the story unfolded, we were told he was sent home to die. I wonder if great-grandma was involved in any more insulting situations. The cousins were under the impression that she was quite the character, strong of will, sharp tongued, and fair with a shotgun herself.  Yup, I’ve wondered about old great-grandma.

I’m still looking for her. That whole thing about inquiring minds wanting to know applies here.

It is rather fascinating. This sort of traveling begins much as any other sort; with a phone and a computer.  It’s amazing where word of mouth and public records of birth, death, marriage, census information, and tax records can take you. I’ve been as far back as the 1700’s!

This isn’t your ordinary history class. This is time travel.

Think I’ll spend some time in the 19th century. I’d like to meet Victoria, Queen of England.

Grandmothers and Soap Operas

22 Oct

Bob was telling me stories of his misspent youth in Toronto yesterday. It was pretty scary. He told tales of explosions and harassment that made the little hairs on my neck stand up. It is surprising that he survived.

I, on the other hand, spent my childhood reading books and watching soap operas. Yup. Really. And get this; it was a black and white television. No shi*.

You thought I was a mere youngster, didn’t you? Go on, ‘fess up. There’s that word, fess, again. I do love that little Southern contraction.

Yes, my great-grandmother Sarah and I spent many a summer day watching soaps. ” As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” were afternoon favorites. Sarah called them ‘her stories’. She tried not to miss them. When school was dismissed for the summer, I would spend the first week catching up on our stories. Who married who, who ran away, who was having an affair. They got a little steamier as time passed, new characters came and went, but the core family remained the same. It was something you could count on.

Sarah was my mother’s grandmother. She was born somewhere between 1888 and 1891. Off the top, I can’t recall the exact date. My grandmother, her middle child, was born in 1911. I’m dating her from there.

It seems utterly amazing to me that I had a relationship with someone born in the 19th century. She lived without electricity and running water until she came to live with us. I remember visiting her when I was but a wee thing. She rented a small house from my father’s sister.  We read by kerosene lamp light, made biscuits in a wood burning stove, and peed in a chamber pot. There was an outhouse for other uses. Water was drawn from a well.

My father’s grandmother lived right across the road from Sarah. Mildred was in the same boat. No modern amenities were to be found in her log house. It was a dark cabin. The windows were tiny, there was a huge wood stove in the center of the front room. Rocking chairs were the preferred seating in there and on the porch. There was a pump on the kitchen sink and benches near the table. A curtain partitioned a small sleeping area. That’s where the chamber pot was located. In my little kid mind, it was scary, not nearly as light and bright as Sarah’s house. Mildred was blind. It didn’t need to be light and bright.

Most of the other houses along the highway had been somewhat modernized or built recently to embrace the use of the power and telephone lines that had been laid in the preceding decade.  Those two remained fixed in another time.

Oddly enough, both my great-grandmothers had extraordinary impact on my parents. Sarah raised my mother. Grandma had only been married to my grandfather for a short time. She married a second time and moved to Little Rock, only a short drive away now the roads are much improved and cars are faster. She left my mom with Sarah. Sarah was ‘mama’. Grandma was referred to by her given name.

My father’s mother, Mabel, died when he was young. Mildred outlived her daughter and became the one he loved. There were only two occasions when I saw my father cry; one when his beloved grandmother died and the second time when he dropped me off at college.

It is a bit surreal to recall those two great-grandmothers. Their lives began in an era that was driven by horse and hard manual labor. They lived through an economic depression which barely touched them in rural Arkansas. Their lives were hard anyway. They farmed, growing most of what they ate, selling the remainder. They lost husbands and children. Their friends often buried babies.

I remember being at the hospital when Mildred died. I remember the tears shining on Daddy’s cheeks.

I remember that I was fifteen when Sarah died. She had so looked forward to my sixteenth birthday. I was to drive and we were to set out on adventures yet to be determined. My mother was distraught when Sarah left us.

I don’t have a clue as to why this particular topic surfaced for a Monday subject. If this keeps up we may have a standing title, Maudlin Mondays!

That won’t be necessary.

I’ll do my best to find my funny pants before it gets that bad.

Happy Tuesday. Still my pleasure.

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