Monday, September 30, 2019

In Dedication To My Grandmother

My mother used to say that it was a good thing my paternal grandmother wasn't born rich, because she wasn't sure she could snub her nose any higher.  Judging from this picture, I suppose you might believe that's true. But's that's not how I remember her, at least, not entirely.  It's true, she was a proud woman, and it is likewise true that it was that very pride that drove a rift between us that remained un-mended until her death. A staunch believer and defender of the doctrine of the Church of Christ, at the tender age of eighteen I had the audacity to fall in love with and marry a Baptist, and in a Baptist church, no less. She refused to come to my wedding, and never spoke to me again. Being young, and a bit haughty and proud myself, I dug in my heels and pretended not to care.  Before it occurred to me that I might regret that decision, it was too late.

In the years that have passed since her death, twenty-eight of them to be exact, I've come to realize more and more how very alike we are, both the good and the bad. In addition to her stubborn pride, I have her looks, her wit and most importantly, her love of home. My grandmother mastered the art of humble beauty. She never had much, but she knew how to set a pretty table, fluff the cushions on the worn couch, and there was always something blooming by the front door to greet you. And though I wish now that I'd learned the art of forgiveness a bit younger in my life, I'm thankful for the memories I do carry.

I've made peace with my pain, and I like to think that she had, too. Last year, my cousin sent me a picture of her that was taken shortly before she died. She was sitting on that same well, worn couch that I remembered from my childhood, and there on the table beside her was a picture of me, in my wedding dress, no less. I guess her pride wouldn't let her say, "I'm sorry", or perhaps I never gave her the chance, but she still kept my picture nearby, and for that, I am thankful.

My grandmother lived her entire life in Keller, Texas, on a small farm as a child, and later in a rickety old white house in town. Judging by the way she and my grandfather are dressed in this picture, and the corsage, I'd say this was either Easter or Mother's Day.  And yes, she is boasting a prideful smile. She is proud of her beautiful corsage (most likely given to her by my father), for her clean and freshly pressed dress, and for her dapper husband in his linen suit.  As I said, she never had much, but she did take pride in the little she had. She cared for it, tended it, made-do and made last, and I'm grateful for the spirit she exemplified.

This blog is dedicated to her,  To white lace curtains blowing in the window on summer days, to gingerbread in the oven on winter evenings, and to all the million humble, little things that bring beauty to our ordinary days.

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