Friday, June 17, 2005

Old folks...

  • My granny (Bertha Hixon) died, as you know, several months ago…

    Her life taught me a few simple lessons. Some of which I’ll follow, many of which I won’t due to morality and health reasons…

    Then again, she lived to be over 95 years old, and didn’t get put into an assisted living home until she started making sugar sandwiches and coffee-grind sandwiches on a regular basis.

    The worst part about her losing her mind was that her family members would not so much ‘rub it in’ but rather would ‘test’ her memory. They would point to one another and say “Mama, who is this?” I’m thinking in my head “She doesn’t know! Why are you asking her? To remind her of that?”

    But, in typical Bertha Hixon style, she would turn it right around on them and say “Why are you asking me who that is? If you don’t know who that is you’ve got problems.” And I’d just smile and think “Good one granny!”

  • Ever since I can remember, Granny had a bottle of Jack Daniels by her bed. She wasn’t given to alcohol, but I am sure she took a swig before bed. I suppose it is certainly better than sleeping pills or pain medication…
  • Granny always had a gallon of Mayfield vanilla ice cream in her freezer. Not in the freezer part of her 1950s refrigerator, but in the separate unit on the back porch. No chocolate, no chocolate chip, just vanilla. And this wasn’t those neat gallon ice cream boxes; it was the yellow RECTANGULAR box, with the black writing on it and a picture of a cow. You opened it by pulling that tab that went along the perforated dots on the package. To this day, vanilla ice cream is my favorite Mayfield flavor. If I get ice cream elsewhere, I may be bold and get chocolate chip, but that’s it.
  • Granny always had snicker bars in her freezer. You should have seen this woman chow down on these rock hard items. She looked like a Labrador chewing on a soup bone. She died with no teeth by the way.
  • She got chocolate covered cherries every year for Christmas, and loved them.
  • She was so not afraid to tell people what she thought of them. Mostly family members. I, of course, was never at the horrible end of this openness… I was one her faves. She typically called people a Gorilla if she didn’t like them
  • Granny’s husband died when my mom was 12. But he collected ceramic animals while he was alive. I remember seeing an ashtray in Granny’s house from day one of my memory. It was shaped like a curled up python. I loved taking it outside, hiding it, and showing it to my female cousins and scaring them. My brother was always in love with this item. It was given to him by the family the day of granny’s funeral. The thing is in mint condition, and is AT LEAST 50 years old.
  • Granny was no stranger to hard work. Try being a woman in the 1950s and 60s living on top of a mountain of mostly dirt roads raising 6 girls and one boy who just left for the navy.

  • Granny had a tree in her front yard. My cousins and I used to climb it all the time. You could climb about 15 feet easily in this thing. The snake climbed out of it one day and we didn’t climb it too much after that.
  • Granny used to grow strawberries and make strawberry jam with them
  • Granny had a yellow apple tree in her back yard; she made cobblers with those apples. I never understood this, but my aunts and mom and granny always told me that I shouldn’t pick those apples to eat them (even though I always did) because I would get a stomach ache… yet we ate them in her cobblers…why the hypocrisy?
  • When I spent the night with granny, she always cooked biscuits (home made my friends. They were not pretty, but they were from S C R A T C H) and bacon… she had this every morning.
  • Next to Granny’s home was a huge field that had a grass air strip on it… I thought it was so cool seeing that man land his plane and take off… turns out he was running drugs…. And he was arrested
  • On the other side of granny’s house was a nice pond that I was never allowed to go to. However, I could walk on the road and throw rocks into it. That land used to belong to our family… must be 20 acres plus some… a great aunt of mine sold it for like $4,000 many many years ago… at least the now-owner only uses it for his cows, but the home my mom grew up in was on that land, it because abandoned of course, and stood for many years… but the owner of the land had to destroy it, his cows would walk in there and I guess he was afraid it would fall on them…
  • Granny always had a pet cat. I don’t know what it is about those north Georgia mountains, but cats are always walking around. One shows up one day, she feeds it table scraps, and somehow it never goes away, and survives off table scraps…
  • Granny has a great record collection. Lots of Floyd Cramer. She still had an 8 track player and the 8 tracks to go with them.
  • Granny had a rocking chair “lazy-boy style” that was pretty old. It was HER chair. Us kids would always get in it when she wasn’t around and rock in it, 80% of the time the chair would fall backwards… why it never happen with Granny in it is beyond me.
  • Her front porch was a forum for all sorts of topics and meals.
  • She dint have air conditioning. Just a window-unit fan.
  • To warm her house, she USED to have a wood burning stove. It was replaced by an electric heater about 10 years ago sadly… or maybe for the best, that stove was HOT to the touch.

    I could go on forever. I don’t know why I felt like putting all this to word, but it was fun.
    Jamison

6 comments:

Brewster said...

Thats really touching. My grandfather is in the throws of Alzheimers at the moment and it is rather terrible. He doesn't recognize most of his family anymore incliding his children. Talks incoherently, and is generally out of his mind. They haven't put him in a home yet, because he's mostly harmless and my grandmother is still very capable of taking care of him. But it is still heartbreaking. Sorry to get so down there, that really was a nice memorial to your granny.

bigsip said...

I really enjoyed reading that, Jamison. I hope you wrote that down somewhere to keep and continue to keep stuff written down about your Granny and other family members. You can't replace memories like that. They made me think of my grandparents. I remember losing both of my Grandfathers. Mom's dad died of brain cancer and went through similar things like your Granny. Dad's dad was sharp to the end, but died painfully of emphysema. It was hard to lose them, but losing them brought out so much of the best feelings and memories of them and that I certainly appreciate. Thanks for sharing, my friend.

Jamison said...

I sometimes fear getting old... Sometimes I wish I would die suddenly in an accident when I am like 92, healthy as a horse...

bigsip said...

I can understand that. It's scary in some ways, but I am just comforted by the fact that Heaven awaits! I just wish Jesus would come on back. I am ready to get outta this place. But, I will enjoy it while it lasts and live the best I can. Don't fear the Reaper!!! More cowbell!

midnitcafe said...

I'm not scared of dying per sa, but getting old worries me sometimes. Or rather they senility, sickness, pains and weakness that sometimes comes with it.

Jamison said...

im the same... i dont mind dying, it is the getting old and hoping young guys are as nice to me as I was to old people when I was their age...