My Grandpa loved to sit on the verandah, as my Grandma called it and whittle on a plain ‘ole stick. He made ax handles back in the day. That pocket knife was also handy for peeling apples and oranges for us kids. And a keen switch was kept ready for whoever insisted on picking green, unripened peaches or figs from the trees in their backyard. Funny thing is, I never remembered being whipped a single time by him, only by Moma.
Whenever we came to visit, we were met with his stern voice of welcome and boisterous laughter throughout every conversation that almost shook the rafters of their humble, tiny home.
Grandma was the one who smiled and quietly sat listening to everyone else talking during those visits, unless she was in the kitchen rustling up something to feed her guests.
I can remember in the midst of those precious memories, Grandma telling me she liked my new school shoes. I was pleasantly surprised, as well as, proud she was able to find the words to hold a brief conversation with me. I smile with tears in my eyes now, visualizing the evident love I saw that day in her eyes, as she struggled with extreme shyness to connect with me.
I must have been almost thirteen at the time, because she passed in July, which was too early for me to be wearing school shoes. We always started school in September back then.
I like to imagine I was her favorite. Everyone was always telling me how much I favored her in looks and personality. I’m sure she noticed, although she never said a word.
Grandma was born and raised in Alabama. Her brother, Ben, obtained a job at a sawmill in another state. His parents decided to move there with him, and so that is how Grandma came to meet my Grandpa.
Grandpa lived in the neighborhood at the time where they moved. He was originally from a town so small in Louisiana, you would miss it if you blinked!
Grandma’s parents were both Irish. It was told my great grandpa had to pick his wife up just to kiss her, because he was so much taller than she!
My grandma had blonde hair when she was younger, in the only picture I ever saw of her back then. (The picture got misplaced later on) And she had brown eyes my dad inherited from her. My Aunt Rosa Lee was the only child of theirs to have auburn hair and brown eyes.
This is the same grandma who prayed for my dad at Pearl Harbor and to come home safely from the war. She was the most humble, praying woman I have ever known. I am dead serious when I say that. I never heard her talk about anyone. All family members say the same thing.
She was kind and loving, and she prayed and stood in faith, until she saw my grandpa get saved. Grandpa never would go to church with her when she first got saved, but started attending with her in his later years. She never gave up on him.
My grandma fed all the stray cats in the neighborhood. There was not one cat she could not tame. I guess that’s where I got that gift. On the day she passed, she was out feeding her cats.
I’m so proud of my Irish roots and so thankful for a wonderful praying grandma who left behind a rich heritage of prayer and shoes too big for me to fill.