Since I’ve lauded Granny Chaney, now it’s time to spotlight Grandpa, and Grandma Hawkins, Dad’s parents.
I’m so blessed that I knew both sets of grandparents. I even knew some great grands!! That seems to be a rare thing, and I’m so enriched, to have known them.
Grandpa was a phosphate miner. The mine was only about 2 miles from their house. (I’m guesstimating, remember math is not my strong suite. But not too far.)
He got hurt terribly, by falling off some scaffolding, and hurt his left elbow. After surgery, and what not, he was put on disability.
He did little exercises, to try to keep as much range of movement, and mobility as he could. Somehow, he taught himself how to adapt, to be able to keep on fishing!! lol We ate us some good fried catfish, mullet, and other stuff I can’t remember. But if he caught it, and Grandma cooked it, it was good! Oh man, my lips are licking themselves, and my brain is drooling, just from thinking back!!
They were both adults during the Depression, so they never wasted anything. I got aggravated at times, cuz I didn’t understand what in the world they needed all that string, or foil, or whatever for!! Becoming an adult, I can see their wisdom, in hind sight.
Grandma never worked “outside” the home. Except when she was mowing the lawn, gardening, picking peas, strawberries, corn, on and on. Hanging up the laundry on the line. If you showed a millennial a clothespin, Lord knows what they’d think it was! lol
With this kind, she’d say she was pegging out the wash.
When the clip kind came along, don’t know the year, don’t care! Then it was hanging up the wash. You’d expect her to say, “clipping up” the laundry right? Nope.
I’ve had to do that manual hanging up, at times. Hate it!! But, forgetting to bring it in, it’s soaking wet, and ya have to do it all again tomorrow. That’s really the worst!!
Even DD1 had clotheslines to deal with, in 2016!! Ya’d think by then we’d all be issued washers, dryers, and microwaves at birth, right??
Ok, where was I?? I feel like I have veered off topic somewhere.
Oh yes! Grandparents!! And how thankful I am that I had the privilege of knowing them. I learned so much from them. And I coulda learned so much more, if I just would’ve paid attention, and asked questions!!
But, that can’t be changed now, to my regret.
Grandpa died the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 2002. He was at home, with all the family around him. As many of us who could be there. We all said our goodbyes. Michelle was on the phone, and told her goodbyes, and love. He was conscious till almost the very end. What a blessing we were able to talk to him, tell him goodbye, and send him to Jesus, with our love ringing in his ears!! His health had declined so quickly, he never went to the hospital, or nursing home. He was home the whole time. That was such a comfort to him, to be home. He was 81 years old.
DH and I were newly in love, not married yet, but he shook Grandpa’s hand, and told him bye as well. When the ambulance was bringing Grandpa out of the porch, the gurney tilted, and thankfully DH was right there, averting disaster! All the men were kinda lined up, like a family honor guard I guess.
The women all stayed inside, during his removal.
Once he was gone, Grandma, and the children, and by children I mean full grown people! My dad, my uncle, and the 6 sisters, went to the funeral home.
DH went all over the house, collecting all the garbage, and taking it out. I went in Grandpa’s room, and started cleaning. It was so hard. There was a definite mess. They had cleaned as they went, but the final events had left more mess. DH helped me finish cleaning, when he came back from garbage duty. I stripped the bed, but don’t remember if I put clean sheets or not. Anyway, the room, and carpet!! was all clean, smelled nice, all the garbage was out, and the house was straight by the time everybody got back. I’m hazy on what happened at that exact point. But DH and I are family heroes to this day! That was in 2002, 19 years ago, and DH is still the golden boy of the family! As recent as 2 years ago, several of the aunts mentioned how wonderful it was that he got in there, helping clean, when he was not even officially in the family yet!
Grandma lived to be 92!! Sadly, she had to go to a nursing home, and it killed everyone’s feelings, just like when we had to do it with Granny. But Grandma was not a tiny woman like Granny!! And none of the girls were strong enough to defend themselves when she started throwing punches! Trained aides know how to deal with that!
She kept begging to go home. When she only had a few months left, the nurses confirmed to Aunt Cindy, that it wouldn’t be long. So, the girls decided to bring her home. It was so wonderful to see her joy to be home!! She kept thanking all the kids, hugging, kissing them, telling them she loved them. She didn’t always remember our names, but she hugged, kissed all her grands, and greats too. Telling us she loved us so much. This was such a change, we almost couldn’t believe it.
Both Grandpa, and Grandma had always been kinda not demonstrative. We knew they loved us, but they didn’t say it very often. I think hugging made them uncomfortable? My birth family always hugged, kissed them both, and told them we loved them coming, and going.
But those last few months, it seemed as if she was trying to make up for a lifetime of not saying it, or showing love. I visited her a lot more at home, those last few months, than I did when she was at various nursing homes. Having her reach out her arms to hug me, kissing me, and telling me she loved me, so frequently, helped put balm on so many childhood wounds. Now I had physical proof that she did indeed love me!! She was proving it every time she saw me.
My Uncle Jr died, and his funeral was on a Tue. And of course, all the family was going. Who would stay with Grandma? I volunteered, since Uncle Jr hadn’t been my favorite anyway. It was precious to have that time alone with her. There was a hospice aide too, I think, but she stayed in the other room, so we could be alone. We just held hands, saying I love you. Every once in a while, she’d ask for another hug, which I gladly gave. I sang hymns to her, talking about memories. Carefully curated ones of course. I talked about the time she was blanching corn to freeze. Our first job was husking. We kids were supposed to de-silk the ears, after the blanching. Then put them in zip locks. Well… little big mouth ole me, got out the butter, and ending up eating 10 ears, in between saving some!! Ooooh, I got a scolding!! She couldn’t believe I could eat that many!! Especially so fast, that she was unaware of the amount! All the kids ate 1 or 2, of course, that was our pay. I ate my weight in corn I think!! Silver Queen corn, white, not yella, is the best tasting corn you will ever put in your mouth. After that, you will never want to eat canned corn again! And I don’t. That story made her laugh!
She died that Fri, with all her daughters around. She was sent off to meet Jesus, with love ringing in her ears as well. 9/10/11 I’ll never forget that anniversary. She was 92, only 11 days away from her 93rd birthday.
If I live as long as those precious saints, I’ve got at least 30 years to go! I better perk up A LOT then!! 😉
So, so thankful for knowing my 4 grandparents. My life would not have been so rich, if I didn’t.
Thank You, God for those 4 wonderful gifts!!