How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished, in squalor grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL
Earlier this year Time magazine published it's "100 Most Influential People “issue. Beyonce' Knowles-Carter is on the cover. I don't know if she is number 1 or 100, I was curious as to what her sphere of influence was; but then Oprah wasn't on that list.
I wanted to list a group of influential people in my life, but I tend to over analyze and I can't think of 100 people I have known. But I thought about my paternal grandmother Elizabeth. She was very strict (to me) and she always had a "switch" in her purse which was often used judiciously (on me). Now those of you who don't know what a "switch" is, I suggest you look it up in the dictionary of Southern Idioms. Let's just say she was a strict disciplinarian.
She was also a serial church-goer and attended at least 3 on any given Sunday. And more often than not, I was her companion. A typical Sunday would start very early; we would all attend the early morning services at the local Church my mom and dad attended. Afterwards we would have lunch and then start out for the "country" church she loved. Getting there would require two cabs and a long walk down a country road. During all of this, I would ask her, "Are we there yet"? The country church was in a "shotgun" type of building that Louisiana is famous for, and with no air conditioning. On the hottest days of summer all of the kids would sit in the opened windows at the back of the church
When I was in high school my grandmother had a stroke, she recovered but had to live in a nursing home. My dad would visit her at least 3-4 times a week and my brother and I would come too. I don't remember having a lot of meaningful conversations with her. But I remember on one occasion I came to visit her, I was suffering from a broken heart. I wasn't talking to her because her speech and cognitive skills had deteriorated, so we just looked at each other. Then something happened, she spoke to me in a clear strong voice. She asked me why I was so sad and I told her. She gave me the best advice that only a loving grandma could give. She said “Baby don’t worry about that boy, he doesn’t deserve your love anyway.” Then we hugged and she told me that she loved me, she had never told me that before. Then she lapsed back into her incoherent babbling. Wow, what a gift, and I am thankful that I was able to appreciate it then and even more now. I have often wondered what was the legacy she left . What was her sphere of influence on me? Over the past few years I have been working on her Family History. The little bits and pieces of info I have found are hard won. I discovered that she was married to only one man, my Grandpa Will, but it seems they did not have a happy marriage. It was so unhappy that two of her sons changed their last name in protest. She lived with her mother for a time; she was a share cropper, a domestic and other odd jobs. She raised 5 boys alone and they were fiercely loyal to her. Sort of like the "Sons of Katie Elder". I realize now that it was her strong testimony of faith in God that helped her to survive and live as long as she did. She never ceased to praise God, or testify of his good works in her life. She did her very best to instill this in me. The best thing she did for me was to teach me to read the Bible and then enjoy it. I feel like she is my guardian angel and I am forever grateful for her.
AUGUSTUS - Grandma's Hands (Bill Withers cover) | TEAfilms Live Sessions...