Tuesday, February 3, 2009
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.
Posted by Melissa at 7:17 PM