My granny. The impact she had on my heart and soul when I was younger has not yet been surpassed by anyone and I highly doubt that it ever will.
Every Sunday, growing up we went to lunch at Granny’s. It was the highlight of my week as a kid. I was deathly afraid of my granddaddy, until later in life, but getting to see my granny squelched those fears.
The whole family would gather. Aunts, uncles and my cousins, Jennifer and Amanda. We would dine on the finest grub. I miss the dishes granny made. She was the first Pioneer Woman!
The kids: myself, Stacy, Jennifer and Amanda always supped at the “kids table.” I yearned for the right of passage to transition over to the adult table. The transition to the adult table never happened at the house off Mykawa Road in Pearland, however. Granny and Granddaddy moved to Trinity before I was considered “adult table worthy.” Probably not really “adult table criteria” even today, truth be told. I’m OK with that.
After lunch us kids would head outside and climb trees and play with Granny’s cats.
When I was in 4th grade, I had one desire for Christmas, a pair Gloria Vanderbilt corduroy jeans. “Every body had them.” Of course I just had to add my name to the list of fashionistas! Typing that sentence made me gut laugh. I am so far from a fashionista it isn’t even funny! Just ask my buddy, Lisa dubbed by Stuart as “Lisa, the fashionista.”
Apparently, I also wanted a pair of roller skates that Christmas also. They were white with baby blue stoppers in the front and laced up. Note to self, and anyone who needs a reminder, Gloria Vanderbilt’s should not be worn when taking roller skates for their virgin roll. Let me just say, a driveway, a klutz and a pair of roller skates are the components of an accident waiting to happen. Add a pair of pink corduroy Gloria V’s and well, you can only imagine the scene that unfolded. I had worn them a total of maybe three minutes before they were ripped, both knees, all the way across.
I cried and cried. My parents berated me, as they probably should have and I knew what had to happen next. I would have to tell Granny. Disappointing Granny was akin to being on Santa’s naughty list. Ya, just didn’t want to be there. Not because I was afraid of her wrath but the thought of being less than in her eyes terrified me.
The dreaded day arrived. Probably the only day in the history of Sunday’s at Granny’s that I was apprehensive.
We sat down together in the room that had the piano that all of us kids played chopsticks on, not really sure if it was a den or dining room. I started to cry. I told her of my encounter with the pavement and how irresponsible it was of me to skate with the expensive pair of jeans on. In her soft spoken voice, with that gentle nature that all granny’s should possess, she said, “it’s OK.” That was it. No lecture. No condemnation. Just “it’s OK.”
Forth grade year was an eventful year for me. I had the hiccups for eight weeks straight. Yep, you heard me, eight weeks straight. Some of you reading may remember. I was considered a “disturbance” in the classroom and sent home most days. I spent those days with Granny. Some days I just went straight to her house. Upon arrival I would go back to sleep on the couch in the living room. I got there pretty early since my mom had to work. Granny had a charming daily routine of talking to her twin sister Toby on the telephone. I still remember Granny’s phone number. It was 485-1317. I can’t remember life altering events that occurred during childhood but I have a knack for remembering the goofy crap, do I not?
Twins, Tiby and Toby, had a connection like I’ve never seen. Maybe it was because they were twins. Maybe it was because they grew up during the depression. Whatever the reason, their relationship was precious. Being as I was under Granny’s care during the day, I would often accompany she and Aunt Toby to Safeway for their weekly shopping trip. I was a lucky girl, hiccuping all the while.
Lunch at Granny’s was pretty much the same. I begged for Ramen soup, chicken flavored. I would then take a handful of TidBits and drown them in the soup. If I eat Ramen now, I put Cheetos or CheezIts in the bowl. Hard to find TidBits these days. I swear there hasn’t been a bowl of Ramen devoured in which I haven’t thought of those days.
I learned basic sewing and crocheting from Granny. The crocheting skills she taught me all those years ago, have turned out to be a pretty lucrative craft. I am now the proud owner of a pair of scissors that I was privileged to use as a kid under her tutelage. They were only to be used to cut material. I cherish them.
When Granddaddy retired and decided to move my granny away, my heart broke. Although not a death, it was the first loss I had experienced. Trinity was a good two and half hour drive from Pearland. I just knew that I would never see her again.
We no longer had Sunday dinner with her. Our visits were frequent at first and then more spread out as time passed. The highlight of my summer was getting to spend a week with Granny in Trinity. Stacy and I would make some amazing memories in Trinity, Texas.
Tales of pond boogers and the Trinity Hatchet Man, concoctions of my Aunt BB, terrified and entertained us simultaneously.
Granddaddy taking us for rides on the old blue tractor was a crowd pleaser for sure. He used to let me mow with the ole red Snapper. On one such occasion, Granny told me to stay in the shade, as Trinity temperatures reach well over 100 in the summertime. Granny and granddaddy both got a good chuckle when they came outside and saw that I had stayed in the shade, literally. I mowed in the shade of the big oak trees on the property. I can only imagine what they thought when they saw perfectly cut grass along the tree shadows. I was still hearing about that one into my late teens.
Stacy, Granny and I would all get to sleep in the big poster style bed. This bed had a decorative headboard with a hole in the middle. The hole was the perfect size for a curious kid to stick their head through. Yep, I was that kid. Yep, it got stuck. I don’t remember how we got me out of that situation but we did. Mary Beth said she did the same thing when she was a kid.
After the lights went out, for no reason at all, us three “girls” would start giggling. We would giggle so hard that we knocked the slats out from underneath the bed. Granddaddy would holler from the other room something like,”it’s time for you girls to go to bed.” Granny would often giggle louder when he hollered at us.
My Granny had a duck pond full of catfish. BIG catfish. We called it “the tank.” A morning ritual while on “summer vacation” was to feed the catfish. We did take a dip in “the tank” a time or two with Uncle Lloyd. Would I do it now? No freaking way. He probably wouldn’t either.
One morning, I was sitting in a lawn chair on the bank of the pond feeding the ginormous catfish. What seemed liked a thousand begging bottom feeders emerged as soon as soon as they heard the rattle of the old Folgers coffee can. What happened next is etched in my mind for life. The lawn chair folded up on itself with me in it and I, well you can just imagine. Actually, you probably can’t! It was a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie. It felt like it took me ages to climb up the muddy back to safety but I’m sure it was only a matter of minutes. Funny thing is, my granny can’t swim. She was no help but she did cheer me on from the bank.
That pond holds some other fond memories for me.
I had an ole yellow lab named Khaki. She was named after one of my dad’s dogs he had at one time or another.
Let me set the scene. Freaking cold in February. If Trinity is the hottest place in Texas in the summer, I’d venture to say, in my limited travels, it the coldest place in Texas in the winter.
Remember those ducks that I told you about? Well, Khaki found them most entertaining. She jumped right in that pond, 30 degrees outside didn’t phase her. Granny was squealing from the bank, “Julie, get your dog, she’s gonna eat my ducks!” I called and called as Khaki and the ducks swam from one end of the tank to the other. She paid no mind to me. You guessed it, I had to jump in that frigid water so my granny didn’t witness the shredding of her fine feathered friends.
After my parents divorce, I lost touch with my dad’s side of the family for many years. Aunt Mary Beth would still come see me. In fact, she took me shopping on my birthday every year until my early teens. She bought me the coolest purple parachute pants and took to me to see Huey Lewis on my 13th birthday. Mary Beth is a special lady. One that I admire for a multitude of reasons but that story is for another day.
Once Stuart and I got married and lived about 45 minutes from Trinity we would pop in every now and then. Corey caught some big catfish out of the pond and had to hear all about the Trinity Hatchet Man and the Pond Boogers, again another story for another day.
Granny lives with Mary Beth and her family near Austin. She stays busy. Gets her hair done weekly if I’m not mistaken and pals around with Mary Beth. I love how Mary Beth loves her momma and I will say I am a tab bit envious.
Granny is a treasure. If asked what quality I admire most about her I couldn’t answer with one. She taught me to be creative, to appreciate the art of crochet and made me feel special. She never raised her voice at me. She read to me and let me sit in her lap until I wouldn’t fit anymore. Three little kittens lost their mittens… I can hear it like it was yesterday.
She has the prettiest blue eyes. They glisten but you can also tell that they have seen a lot. Maybe too much. Soft spoken with the sweetest giggle. Once she gets going it’s hard to stop her.
That precious woman is everything I aim to be when I have grand-kids of my own. She has set the bar high.
She has outlived all of her siblings, my granddaddy and one of her sons. I think God is keeping her here because he wants others to see what an amazing woman she is. I wish I could see her more often. I do however have a lifetimes of memories that I will hold close to my heart forever.
Granny, thank you for being a woman I could look up to when such a figure was lacking in my life. I love you.