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Great-Grandmother – another try at posting

January 29, 2013

This is another excerpt from my first book, From Sharecropper’s Son to Tracking Missiles.” The story is about one of my great-grandmothers after my great-grandfather died. She lived next door to me on the edge of town when I was little. After Grandpa Pope died, she would visit my Granny Grunt’s house frequently and I would see her then.

For a while, Uncle John and his family moved into the house with Granny Pope so she would not have to live alone. Then she began living with various of her children for a period of time. They would take turns having her with them. Wherever she went, she took her cane-back rocker, her trunk and her feather bed.

When Granny Pope visited my grandparents in 1940, she shared a room with Mom’s sister, 13-year old Jo. When she went to bed she began praying in a whisper that Jo could barely hear across the room. The longer she prayed, the louder she got. Most of her prayers were beautiful and touching. Occasionally one would be out of character. Such was the case one cold night when she had prayed for a long time. Suddenly out of the whispers and murmurs came the clear words, “Lord, help them not to be so stingy. Why, I can see them now, skimming that milk until it’s blue.”

The prayer went on, but Jo heard no more. She was far too busy stuffing the pillow and half the covers into her mouth to stifle laughter. Prayers are not to be laughed at, nor was Granny Pope.

In 1941, Granny Pope was about 85 when she came to stay with my grandmother, Granny Grunt, for a few months. Granny Grunt had a new Frigidaire refrigerator instead of an ice box and a coal oil cookstove instead of a wood cookstove.

Granny Pope was restless after a few days. One morning about 10 o’clock, she complained, “I don’t know why I have to eat what you fix. I can still cook.”

Granny Grunt said, “Mother, would you like to cook lunch today? You can use my kitchen any time.”

 “YES, I will cook,” Granny Pope replied. She rushed into the kitchen and put an apron on over her ankle-length dress. She looked around the kitchen and opened first one cabinet and then another. She got out a pan or two and turned around several times without doing anything. She stared at the stove and refrigerator.

Suddenly she yanked off the apron and swished back to her rocker. She said, “Fix your own dinner. I’M NOT YOUR SERVANT!”

Granny Pope didn’t want to use the coal oil stove or open the refrigerator. She never did trust those ‘new fangled’ gadgets and was always saying the day would come when we’d be happy to go back to cooking on a wood stove, cooling things in a window cooler or the well house and washing clothes in a wash pot with a rub board.

Granny Pope never again asked to cook.

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