Tuesday, February 3, 2009

With Love

Ninety-eight years ago today the world received one of its greatest blessings when my grandmother was born in High Shoals, Georgia. She was the third child, and only daughter, of the town preacher and his quiet, obedient wife.

By all accounts, Grandma was a beautiful girl and, also by all accounts, she knew it. Legend has it that she won the "Pretty Girl Cake" at her town's festival every year for ten consecutive years, and for ten consecutive years, she feigned surprise when the cake was handed to her.

Grandma was full of life and energy, much to the chagrin of her sober father. She had heard the rumors that her own mother was kept from the boy she loved and forced by her family to marry the town preacher. Grandma was not about to lose her spirit to custom, and on December 7, 1926, she ran away to marry the handsome, exciting boy who stole her heart.

Every girl who marries the bad boy lives on a roller coaster with him, and Grandma was no different. But he was her passion and she never regretted her choice to follow her soul's prompting to be with him. Even after Alzheimer's robbed her of her children's faces and her grandchildren's names, she asked, "If Thomas were alive, do you think he would still love me?"

Sometimes I dream that she is still alive, that I have another chance with her. I dream that I go to see her more often while she lives in her tiny retirement apartment and that I pay more attention to the old stories she loves to tell. In my dreams I tell her how much I love her and I thank her for being the strength in my childhood.

In my dreams I hear her story about the "Pretty Girl Cake" just one more time.

I am not afraid to die because I know Grandma will be there to take care of me, just like she always has. She will pat me on the head, take me by my hand and introduce me to all of her friends. She will say, "This is my granddaughter, Missy. Isn't she pretty?" When her friends smile politely at me and ignore her question about my beauty, she will ask them over and over again until they finally tell her, "Yes, Mary, she's beautiful."

And then she will tell all of them how "proud" she is that I thought enough of her to write about her on her ninety-eighth birthday.


  1. Heart-felt and beautifully written. Happy Birthday.

  2. Missie,
    Thank you for paying tribute to grandma with your poetic and captivating words that brought me right back to our childhood. I loved her stories and pats on the head! I also loved her zest for life. I wish that I held only a fraction of it for my own life. I, too, dream the same dreams of her but those dreams just make me realize that she is still a part of my soul, that she is still with me and that I will see her again.
    I want to thank you for sharing your childhood with grandma and me. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have experienced her in exactly the same way that I did. And I wouldn't have changed one minute of my time with either of you for anything in this world.
    With tears in my eyes, I will tell you that I love you, my sister, my friend...more than all of the gold and silver in the world!

  3. Oh what a sweet story and what a special Grandma you had! Thank you for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful tribute. My 'Oma' would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year, in May. I'm sure that my family will have a celebration of sorts for her!

  5. See, this is how we know they're not dead: because they live on in our memory.

    It is also, in a weird way, how we know that we are not dead, because we still have the ability to feel, even if the feeling is a painful one.

  6. That was an amazing post. I loved every word. Your grandma will be very proud of that tribute. I'm sure of it!

  7. Thank you for your post. I really enjoyed it. I have copied it in the family notes so it can be read by our future families. Sounds like you are doing well.
    Thanks again for the email and sharing. I would love to hear more stories about your grandmother and great grandmother. Your cousin,
    Bill Dottery

  8. What a sweet wonderful post! I have the same kinds of dreams about my gramma and my aunt who passed away within a year of each other. They remind me to be thankful that my grampa is still around (almost 96 and determined to see 100) and to visit him more often while I still can. Thank you so much for sharing that!

  9. This is an elegant tribute.

    I have a special present just for you:


    Click on "blog" once you get there.

  10. I just love this post. How sweet! She'll be absolutely thrilled that you wanted to pay tribute to her.

    Your right. Things are always better when you win them.

    And as for my sickness. I went to the doctor today ... the flu. Blah

  11. That was beautiful. And I just know your grandmother IS proud that you spoke of her so eloquently on her birthday.

  12. Oh if only she'd written her memoirs. Sounds like they'd be fascinating.

  13. What a wonderful tribute to her.

  14. If received previously, (clicked something in my tears, not sure if or what went) . . . This is what I intended . . .
    Wow!!! What a tribute. My family just celebrated my paternal grandmother's 88th birthday January 24th. This woman is who raised me since I was 9 after my own mother passed away. She is whom I owe my own existance to today. Some of my skills, cooking, parenting, etc. I wish you could see 3 specific photos I proudly have and display on my piano. They are beautiful of her. Your grandmother is beeming with pride of you. You take such good care of your own mother. And you, in your own right, are a good mother. Your grandmother is proud and will be waiting for you. Sorry, I think this came out better the first time. Can't stop the tears. Will read rest of your blog. But just had to tell you how much I enjoyed this and how touching to my heart.

  15. P.S. If I didn't mention or clarify, I AM VERY FORTUNATE, my grandmother is still alive. I love the stories that begin with, "Oh, this is naughty . . . "

  16. I love this post. Family is so important. We get so busy these days, too many of us don't pay much attention to our elders. We miss out on a lot of richness. I'm glad you shared some of your family's richness with us.

  17. That was a lovely tribute to your grandma. I'm sure she's looking down on your with pride. My own grandma passed away last month after a long battle with Alzheimers. I wrote a post as if from her perspective to pay tribute to her.

    Thanks for visiting the domestic fringe. Hope you come back soon.