...It's been a whirlwind since my last post. My Granny Smith died last Wednesday night. I lived with her for four summers after my grandfather died in 1986. I won't spend any time today writing about her illness or her death, because, quite honestly, I've had too much fun this week remembering her life. You see, she knew the Lord in a wonderful way and served Him faithfully. It was so great at her funeral service to see people from her church whom I hadn't seen in decades. For over 40 years she was the quintessential nursery coordinator for her church, she was involved in missions study and Bible study, and in later years became a fixture in the senior adult ministry of the church. All the while she cared for her youngest daughter, who is a survivor of multiple strokes and even now struggles with multiple sclerosis. It wasn't until my late teen years, when I lived in her house, that I really got to know her as well as I do. As a young child I remember thinking that my other grandmother was the fun one... but in retrospect I see that it was merely a matter of exposure. (She lived only minutes away from our house and we were together frequently.) I came to understand that both of these ladies were amazing, each in her own right.
I have many memories of my Granny Smith. No surprise to many of you, most of those memories involve sitting at her kitchen table. I remember yellow cake with "fried" chocolate icing... afternoon coffee (or canned Hi-C punch). I remember the day she learned that I LOVE fried chicken livers and turnip greens. From that day on, any time I came to visit she always fixed them. I remember playing Yahtzee and Wa-hoo, shopping at KMart on Longpoint Rd and watching her take pills... lots of pills!
Perhaps one of my favorite stories, one that illustrates her great wit and sense of humor is this: She and my grandfather (and my aunt) all lived in the same house in northwest Houston for almost 50 years. When they bought it, the house was in the middle of nowhere, though now it is literally less than 200 yards removed from Interstate 290. To this day, when you pull in to the driveway of her house, there are 3 LARGE cottonwood trees on the left between their property and the neighbor. Because they were a family of modest means, they always cooled the house with an attic fan and open windows. As cottonwood trees are prone to do, these 3 shed a sort of white fuzz all the time. I can't count in my memories the number of times I've seen my granny take her broom outside and sweep the screens on that side of the house because of the white fuzz being drawn my the attic fan's pull. It was at least daily if not twice daily through the spring, summer and fall. Countless times she asked Papa to take those trees down, but he never would. When he died in the mid 1980's I was more than amused to see that she purchased for him a cottonwood casket... I remember her laughing as she told me she chose it because he loved those trees so much. Not a day went by for the past 22 years that she hasn't missed him and talked about him... And in recent days, she even began to dream about him. So, it was no surprise to me when my family and I arrived at the funeral home on Friday to see my Granny, dressed in red double-knit with a plastic beaded necklace and bracelet, laid out in a cottonwood casket.