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Granddaughter Brittany

February 19, 2013

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is about my granddaughter, Brittany.

Brittany was born in 1991 to Ken and Katrena. Brittany was a petite little girl, who favored Billie very much. She, Jayme and Alexus are three who favor their granny very much. Billie watched Brittany when she was young. She would be at the house every evening when I would get home from work.

***

Ken taught Brittany the alphabet song when she was about three. He also taught her to sing her alphabet backwards. She would finish the normal alphabet song and say, “Now I’ll sing them backwards like Daddy does.”

Brittany was a very petite little girl. Shortly after she was three-years old, we went shopping. Her mother and Billie wanted to shop for Brittany, so I took her across the store away from them. As we walked around, she would sing the alphabet song forward and backwards, which drew stares from everyone around us. People could not believe this tiny, little girl was singing her alphabet forward and backwards.

We would take Brittany with us to see Jason play baseball quite often. A lot of the high school girls always seemed to look forward to taking Brittany around the stands showing her off with her ability to recite the alphabet forward and backward.

***

Every day when I came home, Brittany would follow me around the house telling me everything that had happened that day. When I went into the bedroom to change clothes, I shut the door. She would stand outside the door and keep talking.

One day when she was about four, I took my time while changing clothes. I sat on the edge of the bed and did not finish changing. I was fully dressed without putting a belt through the belt loops on my trousers. Brittany would talk a while then ask if I were dressed.

I would reply, “I’m still changing clothes.”

Finally, Brittany opened the door a crack and peeked in. I was working my belt through the belt loops. Her eyes lit up, and she said very matter-of-factly, “I can watch you put your belt on,” as she came in the door.

***

Billie’s sister, Ella Mae, was in the hospital with lung cancer. Billie and Brittany went to visit her almost every day before she died. One day as Billie got them ready to go, Brittany asked where they were going. Billie told her they were going to see Ella Mae. Brittany was a little tired of going to the hospital every day, but then thought a minute and said, “The nurses will just look at me and say, ‘she’s so cute’.”

Telling a young one about death is always hard.  I learned about death just before I was four when my great-grandfather died.  My parents and grandparents ingrained into me that he had crossed over to a better place and was waiting for us to join him someday.

A few years ago, we went through so many funerals of loved ones that  four-year old Brittany attended frequent funerals with us from the time she was two. She learned to handle it very well. At that time, we had more than 30 funerals in our extended families during a three-year time span.

A few days after attending her sister’s funeral, Billie took Brittany with her to the florist to buy flowers for a friend’s funeral.  Brittany said to my wife, “Granny, do we HAVE to go to another funeral. I am TIRED of funerals.”

***

Ken and Katrena had taught Brittany to read pretty well by the time she entered Kindergarten. Her teacher found out how well she could read and had Brittany read every day to the other students. This was a thrill for Brittany and made all of us feel proud of her, but that kind of thing can also create little problems with the other students who cannot read very well.

***

Jump ahead a few years. Brittany works for Joe’s Crab Shack in Lewisville. We went there to eat about three weeks before Billie died. Brittany was eating with us because she had taken off. We were sitting at a table enjoying the meal. When the wait staff began a song and dance routine, I looked at the young lady nearest us and told Brittany, “That is a beautiful, young lady,” which is something I do not say about many.

Brittany said, “You’re saying that right in front of Granny.” I replied, “Yes, I wouldn’t say it behind her back.” Billie just smiled.

A few weeks later when everyone was here for Billie’s funeral, a couple of my sons said something about there being a couple of widow women living near me. I said I would be looking for someone a little younger. About that time, I turned to Brittany and said, “About that young lady you work with.” Brittany got very uptight and said, “No way, Granddad. She’s younger than me and you cannot date anyone younger than me.”

I continued to bug Brittany about that when I would see her, but I was not actually looking for anyone, especially not that young. It just gave me something to tease her about.

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