TITLE: Sweet Memories of Grandmother
By gene hudgens
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My grandmother had the ability to insure that I enjoyed staying with her and Granddaddy. Granddaddy was a retired Methodist pastor and they lived in an old house furnished by the church, so one can imagine Grandmother had very little money to spend on me.
It was her time, patience, and love that I treasured. I could hardly wait for any opportunity to leave the city and go to the country and be with Grandmother
She was strict when necessary, but the way she set the example, took time to clearly explain everything in detail, seemed to always have something in her mind to keep me occupied, told me stories, and encouraged me to do new things to learn and have fun certainly made up for not being able to spend money on me. I would never want to change a single moment with Grandmother.
In those days in our little country town it wasn’t often that many, if any, of the country folks went into the big-city to shop. Granddaddy had a large garden, berry bushes, and fruit trees. He raised chickens for eggs and eating and also raised a few ducks. My uncle raised cows for milk and pigs for pork.
There was not a single café or restaurant in the neighborhood. Grandmother cooked every meal and I seldom had sweets and snakes to ruin my appetite. We frequently had door to door salesmen, but I was seldom Grandmother ever bought anything. Every Friday afternoon the Jewel-T man parked in front of the house, blew his truck horn, opened the truck doors, and waited (and hoped) for a few customers.
He sold a limited variety of many different things. Grandmother bought her hair-pins and toilet paper from him. It was here that Grandmother spoiled me. She always allowed me to have a package of NABISCO Fig Newtons. Oh my, I can still taste them.
I loved to have my back tickled. Grandmother had waist-long hair and she loved to have her hair brushed. You can guess the next sentence. Yes, each night she would tickle my back for a long time when I went to bed. However, I had to brush her hair first. She would pull her rocking chair closer to the open fireplace, hand me her hair brush, sit in the rocker and throw her beautiful hair over the back of the rocker. It hanged almost to the floor and my nightly job was to earn my back-tickle by correctly brushing her hair from her head to the floor. I remember that she was strict and insisted that I brush the full length of her hair at least 200 strokes.
Grandmother always served supper rather early. Shortly before bed-time, especially when the weather was cool, she made the three of us a delicious treat. She toasted each of us two pieces of bread. She then put this buttered toast in a bowl of warm milk seasoned with cinnamon. Oh my, I can still taste this too.
She had a large old piano, which stood in the hall entrance. She tried so often to teach me play. I never had any interest in learning; in fact I disliked even sitting on the stool. She often said, “Your daddy played the organ and piano and I just don’t understand why you won’t even try to learn”.
We all naturally walked over to the church every Sunday morning. Grandmother taught Sunday School, but not for children. We children had our rooms in the basement. I loved to go to Sunday School, because there were two huge sand-boxes in the basement and I could go early and play in the sand and stay a little late and play some more in the sand.
I don’t remember having in great enjoyment listening to the stories being told each Sunday.
However, one morning our teacher did not show up and Grandmother, for the first time, was the replacement. I must admit that I remember that she used no notes, but told us bible stories in such an interesting way that I never forgot them.
I remember that she tasked me to do things around the house and garden that I did not enjoy doing at the time. One time she had peeled at least two bushels, sliced them, and had what seemed like two wash-tubs full of sliced apples.
My job was to go on top of a large shed and wash the tin roof. It was a very hot summer day and the tin was oven-hot. After the roof was clean I then took one bucket of apple slices at a time up the ladder and spread them on the tin. I remember it took a long time. An hour or two later I had to go and turn each apple slice over so the sun could its thing with both sides of the apple slices. And of course before dark I had to bring all of the apple slices into the house so Grandmother could do her thing to preserve them.
Of course Grandmother made everything right that evening as she gave me a big bowl of ice cream…with three slices of apple.
She was instrumental in getting me interested in several hobbies. She encouraged all of the family to give me used postage stamps for Christmas and birthday presents. She loved working with me as we hand-made little things. She loved plants and flowers and one time she showed me some pictures from the Sears catalog. We were soon finding a box about 30 x 30 inches. We soon had the bottom covered with fine dirt. Then we covered part of this with moss and then put some grass in another corner. We began to construct a house using a shoe box as the bottom floor area and then using pop cycle sticks to build the top floors. The project took weeks, but when finished it was a real piece of art.
Grandmother encouraged me to go fishing in a neighbor’s small lake. Had I know that she was not going to help me clean any of the fish I caught; I would not have stayed so long and caught about 40 tiny fish. She cut-off the heads, but insisted that I properly scale, clean and cut all of the little slick fish. I guess everything was a learning-experience.
Yes, I sincerely have sweet memories of Grandmother…and I miss her dearly.
© GENE HUDGENS
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