Grandma used to say, "Expressions of love are gifts from God to those who have little or nothing."
It was the spring of 1965 and the usual time of planning and preparing for Easter had set in around our home. The busy preparation of the family meal and making clothes from scratch to wear to Easter Sunday service had us all agog.
There was the usual sermon from Grandma about the true meaning of Easter, and we, her wide-eyes grandchildren sat in front of her rocking chair listening like we had never heard it before.
This Easter was different somehow for we took turns watching as our Grandma was fiddling with something private in her bedroom. We could tell that she was sewing and mending something but couldn't quite decide what it was.
How were we to ever know that it would be her last Easter here on Earth?
For days on end she would lock herself in her room and work on her project of love. We would spy on her through the small opaque window above her bathroom sink, but never made out what she was constructing.
Easter Sunday came and we all dressed and waited patiently in the living room of our cramped shanty house on Coal Ave for Grandma to make her grand entrance.
The door to her bedroom creaked as she opened it and when she appeared we all fell back onto the couch in awe.
There she was in all her glory! She stood before us in a beautiful white dress made from the lace she had saved over the years and her best cotton white sheets. On top of her head was a white, broad brim southern ladies hat with lace and fresh roses. She had painted her dull shoes bright white again. There was an air of aristocracy to her demeanor and a pride we had never witness before from this lady of abstract poverty.
She spoke not a word but led the parade to the car and then off to church.
Later that day she suffered a heart attack and went on to be with the Lord. The hat she made still hangs in an honored place in her granddaughter’s home.
Whenever any of us are feeling sorry for ourselves or down and out, we all have the privilege to go and read the inscription Grandma wrote on the inside of her Easter hat and our troubles just seem to melt away.
It reads like this.."My babies, God knows all about it. I am 80 years old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread."