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Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A Giggle and Dip ~
When I think of my grandma, I can hear her giggle. She was a happy soul and a lot of fun to be around. I would spend the night with her and we would stay up way too late watching those old "whodunit?" movies. She loved a good thriller movie. She would talk all through it..musing on just who the guilty party was. She would poke fun at herself and giggle. She was a source of joy to me for sure.
We would talk about the family and she would tell me all the old stories she remembered from her mother. She took me along with her and Grandpa, on most trips to place flowers on her parent's graves. She always pointed out relatives that were buried nearby, telling me about them and giving me an idea of what they were like and who they were. She brought the past alive to me, time after time.
She was the designated 'Keeper' in the family. There seems to be one in every generation.
She kept the old pictures and the family lore. She is really the reason I became interested in searching, in the first place.
She sparked that tiny flame of interest in me. I have her to thank for this terrible malady that afflicts me, still today....thanks a bunch, Grandma...grin.
I guess she passed that 'Keeper' torch down to me...
The woman 'dipped'.
Now, the only reason that I even mention that here, (sorry Grandma), is because it was so darn comical.
You were just not "lady-like" if you dipped..Snuff is what we are talking about here, folks.
That vile smelling, dark, oozy liquid in an old tin can, that looks like chocolate syrup, but my-o-my and BOY-HOWDY, it AIN'T!
She was slightly embarrassed about this habit. She did not want just anyone to know or, HEAVEN FORBID!, see her do it.
The 'spitting-into-can' was kept handy..right below where she sat, most often. You had to watch your step carefully. Nothing could be worse than tipping over that darn thing. Ick. Really big Ick.
She had the terrible misfortune to get tickled over something and start giggling, once, when she had a mouth full of snuff. She choked on some of it. Not pretty. She would giggle and smile and choke some more.
She was a hoot that little grandma of mine. I sure miss her.
She was a friend of a great many people and well liked through out the community. She worked in her later years in the Boys Department of the Belks Store. She loved the talking to her customers and being 'out and about'. She was great at her job and people loved her for the way she was with them.
Grandma never drove a car and Grandpa would take her to work and come pick her up in the old Ford Galaxy that he had.
You would sit in the seat while being still..never squirming, and what ever you did. you would never, and I mean never, touch the dash of the car. You left smudges from your fingertips when you did that and that was simply not allowed.
Grandma loved flowers and plants. I do, too. She had a night blooming flower that made a spectacular blossom during one night's time..a breath-taking, sweet smelling flower as big as a dinner plate. It would bloom in all it's glory, only to fade and go limp in the morning's light. It was anticipated with much ado and then some. She would give updates over the phone as to when she thought it would bloom out. Then we would all get in the car and make the trip in our pajamas with a flashlight in our hands.
Nothing would stop the viewing of the flower..It was big. *Now, I have the same plant..and getting up to see the bloom is the norm*
Grandma loved to crochet. She would sit for hours and hours with her tiny needle flying back and forth in a small blur. She created beautiful, intricate bedspreads, over hours and hours that spread into years. She took to the task of teaching me her craft, like a true soldier preparing for battle. I would get cramps from the awkwardness of holding the strange feeling needle in my hands and spent hours with a grimace of concentration on my face. She kept telling me to hang in there, I almost had it. She stayed with me until I was able to release that grimace and finally let it melt into a slow smile.
I will never forget the smile she gave me and the assuring pat when I finally created something that resembled a double crochet. She told me that learning to do anything worthwhile, would stay with me for life, and that I would always have that craft to enjoy.
She was right about that.
I love it. To take a simple cotton string and make a beautiful, useful item out of it, is very satisfying. Thanks Grandma, for sticking with me, and not giving up on my stubby kids' fingers.
I learned to make those useful, well alright...not so much 'useful' as 'pretty-to-look-at' old grandma's doilies that were once upon a time, 'all the rage'..
Romantic. Victorian. From an era gone by. Old fashioned.
But still pretty. I see them in estate auctions and antique shops and just have to run my fingers over the stitches. Pineapples woven intricately in the circle with a row of lace around it. One glance at these takes me back to another time and place.
I hear a soft giggle and feel a reassuring pat on my hand. "That's getting better..You almost have it now."
Grandma. How I miss you.
Ethel Leigh Blanton Parrott
November 10, 1906 ~ October 31, 1990