We went the natural route this month…no big symptoms this month thus far, but ya never know, I suppose. F and I are trying not to burst into flames here in Texas. It’s been so hot-n-humid that it takes my breath away when I have to venture outside. Nasty, I tell ya.
I drove up to my parents’ home in East Texas a couple of weeks ago, if only for twenty-four hours. I would have liked to have stayed for a little while longer, but it couldn’t happen this last time. I went up there after my mom told me that three of her cousins were coming to visit for one day only, and she asked if I could please drive to Lufkin to visit with them too.
It’s pretty funny, because F was convinced a bit concerned that I was going up there to meet with my mom and her cousins and then head to Louisiana to go gambling. Ha! Not hardly… these “girls”, as one of the ladies called themselves, were 70+ years old. These sweet ol’ gals were hardly the slot machine type. They were worn out by their trip to my mom’s, and I frankly don’t think they could’ve made it another fifteen minutes in the car.
We had a very pleasant time, catching up on times past, especially their memories of my grandparents and great-grandparents. I got to see a cool book that one of the “girls” had created about her family on her own computer. Her book included pictures of my great-grandparents that I’d never seen before, which was a neat thing. This book wasn’t a professional job, by any means, but I could tell that she’d spent a great deal of time researching her stories, scanning the pictures, and assembling it all into order. It was a labor of love.
Perhaps one day I will pursue a labor of love along those lines. I think it would be great to pull all of the memories together that my aunts, uncles, cousins, and my immediate family have of my great-grandparents, my grandparents, Mom, and her brothers and sisters as they were growing up in Central Texas and later in the Houston area. Mom’s oldest living brother in particular has many, many fantastic stories about growing up as a child of my grandparents.
Grandmama was an awesome woman, in my opinion. Some of the stuff she dealt with – a child with epilepsy, a husband whose big heart turned out to also be a weak heart, and children whom she outlived – are the kind of life-altering events that most of us pray we never have to face. Her eldest son, the man whose first name I share, later died in the same way as his father. I was truly worried that Uncle Buddy’s (again, not his real name) massive heart attack was going to kill her, but she lived on, still taking care of her youngest son who lived with her until the day she died. When her oldest daughter was diagnosed with liver cancer, and Grandmama saw another beloved child fading before her very eyes, she again was devastated by how cruel it was for a parent to outlive her offspring.
As far as anyone knows, Grandmama never drank a drop of alcohol, and she cursed just one time in her entire life. She was a short little thing, about 5’1″ tall, and one time, Grandmama was unfortunate enough to be bending over to get something out of a lower cabinet while someone had left an upper cabinet open. Of course, when she stood up, she whacked her head really hard on the corner of said upper cabinet door. Apparently, there was a deafening silence while people held their breaths, until one of her sons asked her, “you all right, ‘Dessa Mae?” When she managed to say yes, those folks who were within earshot of it began to release their suppressed laughter after finding out she hadn’t been mortally wounded. Grandmama was still in a considerable amount of pain as she jokingly said, “Well damn, I’m glad y’all found out I was going to live before you laughed.”
Grandmama died on cold day in December 1997, just a couple days after Christmas. When my sister and I went to talk to her preacher before her funeral service, her preacher asked us what were some of the things about this remarkable 87-year-old woman that would be remembered by those who knew her. The first thing two words that simultaneously came out of both of our mouths was “her laugh”. There was no way in the world for my grandmama to hide when something tickled her, because her whole body shook when she laughed. She had an incredible sense of humor, and God, how I loved to hear and see her laugh at something.
I think about her often, and wonder what she would’ve had to say about F, and about our infertility problems. If she’d been around for our wedding, she wouldn’t have been able to not cry, especially since she would’ve known that I was going to move up to Washington state with F the very next day. I know she would’ve cried to hear of our miscarriage, because she was a very tenderhearted lady, and because she lovedlovedloved her grandchildren. It may sound bizarre, but the thought that she and my husband’s grandmother were in Heaven waiting to take care of our baby and shower it with all of the bajillions of kisses we would have bestowed upon our little one was one of the main reasons I could still function immediately following our miscarriage. It’s one of the reasons I could still manage to breathe as the pain and sheer grief threatened to cut off my supply of air.
I never knew my grand-daddy, but he must’ve been a pretty spectacular man. His mother was Native American – Comanche, to be exact. His birth certificate says that his race was “Native”. In that day and age, he never, ever wanted anyone to know that he was “Indian”; he’d fight anyone who said he was anything other than White. He is the person I have to blame for my unruly, curly hair. 🙂
The only way I know him is through the stories that others have told and retold about him. At the same time, he was both a gentle soul to his grandchildren, and “one of the meanest SOBs that ever played baseball”. He had a nasty temper, but was generous enough to give a person the shirt off of his back.
I regret that I myself have no memories of him; Grand-daddy died of a massive heart attack just six months after I was born.