Softly and tenderly

My granny is 92 years old. She has lived a good life, and she is well loved.

And she is dying.

I don’t know when, of course, but the good Lord is calling her home, softly and tenderly.

Granny was born on a farm, she grew up on a farm, she was a farm wife, and a farm mother. She raised six good children, has 14 grandchildren, and has lived to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 great-grandchildren, all of whom she could call by name.

When I was little, I loved to stand on a chair in the kitchen and watch her cook, and I loved to pat out biscuits after she lickety-split rolled out the dough on her old bread board.

She could put a meal on the table to feed a houseful in what seemed to me like minutes, but of course it took all morning. Somehow she made it all be done at the same time, something I still can’t do, even if I’m just making three things, and she always put nine or ten dishes on the table, not counting dessert.

There was always tea so sweet it would make you pucker, and she was always asking, “shug, did you get enough? What can I get you?”

You could go to my granny’s house and lick a path from the front door to the back door and never get your tongue dirty. I have never before nor since known a woman that clean, aside from my Grandmother.

I know I make her sound like one of those tiny Southern ladies with wrinkles who wore a flowered dress and an apron and had her hair stacked up on top of her head, but that wasn’t Granny.

Granny was tall, at least to me. Tall and lean, and always with her hair cut short and set. She wore jeans and Keds, and I never saw her with a spot on her shirt or a hair out of place. I have inherited her ability to be suspiciously unwrinkled at the end of the day, and I have inherited her thick, coarse hair.

She was also strong, as she is now. There was nothing she could not reach, nothing she could not lift, nothing she could not do for herself, any time she pleased.

The only thing I ever knew her not to do was drive. I asked her one time why she couldn’t drive, and she got a twinkle in her eye and said, “I don’t want to drive, I want to be driven.”

And she was driven – anywhere she wanted to go, somebody was chomping at the bit to take her. My papa – Hawk – took her to the mall on Saturdays and sat in the middle with the other gentlemen for as long as she wanted to stay, and when he didn’t, one of my aunts did.

I had a long separation from them, but I never stopped missing my granny, my granny who laughed loud and hard, except for when she giggled, and always had time for me to pat out the biscuits, my granny who called me “shug,” always had soft hands, and always had patience for a child.

I’d give anything to have one more day standing on a chair in her kitchen, spilling flour all over the place while she calmly watched.

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About S.

Reader, writer, talker, knitter, picture taker, tennis player, music lover, Southerner.
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12 Responses to Softly and tenderly

  1. Robin says:

    This is beautiful and befitting of such a great woman.

  2. Tanya says:

    She sounds like quite a woman. I’m so sorry. I’m praying for a peaceful, quiet end.

  3. rikki says:

    this is beautiful.

  4. T says:

    i love you, goose…

  5. Sheila says:

    The beautiful thing about you, Susan, is that you know how to be humorous and you too know how to be soft and tender. More importantly, you also know exactly when to be either of them. This was just perfect. Peace to your Granny… and love to you.

  6. gratefulbambina says:

    I loved your memory lane of your grandma, I would love to see a picture of her. She truly sounds amazing and I love the no drive part (smart woman), I feel the same.

    You’ve written your memories like treasures, I wish her a peaceful journey. I love you S and if you need anything please don’t hesitate to call or write.

  7. Amanda says:

    priceless! i just used last Kleenex next to my computer. My Grandma White was so similar. As a matter of fact, Mac wrote me a beautiful Mother’s Day tribute yesterday which included one of his favorite things to do: “making my Great-Grandma White’s homemade chocolate chip cookies with my mom.” We really got some good ones having home grown Southern grandmas. Miss mine dearly. you should probably write her eulogy when the time comes—it would be a homerun.

  8. martinadee says:

    Susan, that is such a lovely tribute. I am sorry she is leaving you, and I know how much you’ll treasure those memories when she’s gone. Xoxo

  9. woohag says:

    This is beautiful. It’s so sweet and heartwarming that you have such vivid childhood memories of your grandma, I have the same. My grandmother died several (many) years ago now but I still “consult” her and “hear” her when I need advice or someone to tell me like it is. I’m so sorry you are losing someone you love so much but I’m happy for you that you have these memories to keep you warm when she passes.

    { big hug }

  10. ellen herbert says:

    This is a beautiful portrait of your grandmother. I close my eyes and see her. Thank you for sharing her memory with your readers.

  11. Ouija says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. I know how hard it is and I wish you didn’t have to be going through losing her…..i believe she won’t really be gone, though, maybe just leaving behind the vessel that had been carrying her in this life. Sending you much love, comfort and a hug.

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