My Granddad was always working, either in his garden or his shop. He seldom came in doors on a given weekday except for Sundays. That was the lords day and my Granddad didn't work on that day. He raised his own vegetables and my Granny canned everything. They had chickens in the side yard and she could ring a chicken neck in a heart beat. Granny kept children in her home and sold chicken eggs . Granddad did carpenter work on the side and between the two, I really cant say that I ever saw or knew they ever went through hard times. When I or any of the other grandchildren visited them, we worked. We helped with the kids she kept. We shelled many wash pans of peas and beans and rocked many hours in the old rocking chairs while doing so. My Granny could cook homemade biscuits that melt in your mouth and you could always find some on the stove top anytime of the day or night. She wasn't very tall, maybe four and a half feet if that. When she did get to sit down, and that wasn't often, she would sit with her hands quietly folded in her lap. My Granny was kind, loving, gentle, and loved the Lord. My Granddad was hard working, stern and to the point, didn't waist anything, and he too loved the Lord. It was way later in my adult life and after my Granny passed away, that I really got to know my Granddad. I would go get him in the Summer time from Mississippi and bring him to our home where he would stay sometimes a whole month. He taught me how to plant tomatoes and showed me how he could write in calligraphy, which he taught himself to do as a young boy. He loved to play checkers and you couldn't beat him, no matter how many times you tried. Each time I took him home as the Summers past, it would be harder and harder to say goodbye.
My dads parents were divorced when I was very young, so I had my Malmal, who was my dads mother and then I had Pap, his father, plus Paps wife, Grandma Doris. Malmal was a lot of fun and a cut up. She taught me how to fish and took me when I visited her. She liked soap operas and shopping and she took a nap most every day. I really don't remember her ever working, just that she was a loving women. Pap, was a quite little man who always wore a hat, the kind you would see men wear in the forty's. He never once yelled at me as long as I can remember. When I would visit, we sat on the swing on the front porch and while he whittled a stick with his pocket knife, we would listen to the morning birds. He taught me about the Bob White and the Whip-a-wheel. He showed me how to catch a craw-fish with a string and a piece of bologna and laugh when I would scream if its claws took hold. He loved playing dominoes and cards for hours under the shade trees. If you were visiting on a Sunday, there was always fried chicken and he sat at the head of the table and always got the drum stick so he could break it in half and eat the bone morrow inside. Grandma Doris was at work most of the time. She worked in a fire tower deep in the woods watching for any fires. She had very soft skin and always worn Vaseline on her face when she went to bed. She didn't like us to be in doors as kids so always had us play outdoors for most of the day. I didn't mind thou, cause Pap would give us a half dollar each and let us walk to the old general store in town and buy anything we wanted. You could get a bag full of candy, a bottled coke, and a two dip ice cream for that half dollar. They had a old two story house with feather beds upstairs to sleep in and cold in the Winter and hot in the Summer. I never heard either set of my dads parents talk about God, nor see them go to church, but I feel like they must have loved the Lord. I wish I had asked when I grew up.
All my Grandparents have long been passed away and I think about them often. Funny how as an adult, the smell of homemade fried chicken, watching someone make biscuits, hearing the birds sing on my morning walks, baiting a hook on an old cane pole, and even driving past someones garden can make all those childhood memories come flooding back. I hope the times spent with our Granddaughter and the moments we have shared with her, plus the ones we will make with our new Grandson, will be remembered as happy times spent with Nana and Papa.
I miss all my Grandparents and pray that I can be as loved as each of them. I will never be able to fill their shoes but will always try to fill mine.