Monday, May 9, 2011

Lost and found

The recent passing of my 96-year-old grandmother has unlocked a flood of memories and emotions that I have held deep in the safety of my heart. My Granny was the most wonderful grandmother in every way. She grew up on a farm in a rural farming community. She graduated a year early from her tiny school because she was very intelligent. She traveled away to college, but promptly returned after only a semester. She had been so consumed with homesickness and longing for her rural farm life that she did not enjoy college life. A proposal from my Pawpaw was all the coaxing she needed to stay.

The two childhood sweethearts married as teenagers and enjoyed over 50 years of marriage together. During that time, they had four girls spanning 16 years in age difference. My mother was the baby. So I was in the last batch of grandbabies to climb the trees and eat veggies fresh from the garden at Granny’s house. By that time, she was an expert on being a grandparent.

The Granny I knew had a loving face, worn deeply with wrinkles and character. She had a prominent Cherokee nose with unexpected ice blue eyes. Her hands were covered with what some refer to as liver spots, but she told us they were, “Good Momma Spots.” She had an angelic laugh and fluffy blonde curls that were set in place once a week at Lola’s Beauty Shop.

One of the most intriguing things about my grandmother is that she was a published poet. She rarely shared her works with us, but once in a while, she would let us read one. Each poem was artfully constructed with her Southern, sentimental dialect and could bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face at the same time.

While dividing up her belongings, my mother and my aunts came upon a treasure trove of her poetry. Each grandchild was sent our own copies. I poured over them as soon as I got my hands on them. Some were familiar. Others were new and refreshing. One poem was written to her high school Senior class. Another was about a bus driver whose tire blew out on a foliage tour in Canada on a trip she took with Pawpaw. There were half a century of poems from a life I never knew.

I was also given a copy of a wedding photo of Granny and Pawpaw that I had never seen in my life. They were two starry-eyed, beautiful, young teenagers with dimples in their cheeks that were long since covered with age when I came along. In all of this, I was able to see most of the 61 years before I came to be in their life. Yet somehow my grandmother spent the remainder of her life focused on us, her grandchildren.

I never thought about my grandmother’s life before we were there… who her parents were or how close she was to her sister. I am so fortunate to have these new memories to add to my own with her. I will close with words from my Granny, in hopes that we all take a little time to write. Our written words are powerful and stay around much longer than we do. There is such a comfort in having her thoughts with me when she is no longer here.

My Glory Day

“When will be my Glory Day?”
Just yesterday I asked my Lord.
“I’ve lived for several years now
And sometimes worked a little hard.”
Now I could almost see him smile
As he lovingly answered me
And I felt a little foolish
As I began to see.
“Think back to all those childhood days
So carefree-filled with love
No worry ‘bout the morrow-
Just blue skies up above.
A loving Dad and Mother
And a super sister too.
It would seem the whole world
Was made for only you.
School days were such a lot of fun
But passed so very fast.
Graduation was a happy time-
The world was yours at last.
Then there was your wedding day
An unequaled event in your life-
So filled with awe and wonder-
Could you be the perfect wife?
Can you forget each happy time
A precious babe was born to you?
Nothing else would be so great
No matter what you planned to do.
Then they grow up and thru’ those years
It was a joy indeed
To watch their growth and love them
And try to meet their every need.
As each one set their wedding day
You’d pray and wish them well
Each one was happy in their choice,
It wasn’t hard to tell.
Could there be more to just one life
Than you have already had?
Oh, yes, a little grandchild-
My, what joy that they can add.
And one by one they came along
So perfect and so sweet-
You’d want to shout it to the housetops
And to everyone you meet.”
Oh, yes, I see it plainly now,
I’ve been blessed beyond compare
To ever wish for more-
I wouldn’t even dare.
What joy-what love
What treasures I have won!
I’ve had a wealth of Glory Days,
I haven’t had just one.

     By Letha Mae Peter      

Dustee Morris is a 35-year-old who manages a full time career, being Mom to five-year-old Rian and wife of almost 12 years to husband Brian.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely tribute to your grandmother. My grandmother lived to be 101 and I'm so grateful and blessed that she lived such a long life. I was the last grandchild as well and was lucky to spend time alone with my grandmother when my older siblings were at school. Such wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing.