Saturday, July 29, 2017

throw back Friday....grandma's hands

So its Friday, again. What a difference a week makes. Right now I feel like Jill and Jack only no Jack. Fell down some stairs, reminded me of Alice in Wonderland when she fell down that rabbit hole. Her life changed drastically after that. I have a lot of thoughts and things I want to share, but my “trigger finger”, my right hand is sore, not wanting to cooperate. So I’m calling this a throwback Friday. Lately I have been literally “ghost writing” the story of my life”. A wise man blessed me to “get in touch with my family”. I thought about that, easier said than done buddy. I have a blooming family tree started on and I have had a D.N.A. kit, with my name on it for the last year, waiting for me to spit in it and send it out. I am a chicken heart.  
Last year I was obsessed with the Broadway show “Hamilton”; a musical about the life of a founding father, Alexander Hamilton. My favorite opening lines was this:
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?
 In those words, you know just about all you need about a guy named Alexander Hamilton. And truth be told, it took me a few minutes to figure out just who Alexander Hamilton was; “The 10 dollar founding father”.  At the time I was really motivated to work on my family tree, try to answer the question: Who am I, why am I here? Who do I look like, where did my people come from. So lately I find myself in similar situations like Hamilton, an orphan, a widow, no family close by, stuck in a place that I honestly would not have chosen to live, for any reason I could think of. Hope is the thing with wings. A friend said to me that maybe the stuckness is because I haven’t made an big enough effort to live in my family history. Maybe looking at an ancestor or even a grandmother can help me to progress. So today’s throwback post comes from my sister blog the”72 hour rule”. It is a post about my paternal grandmother, who I was almost named after; Elizabeth. But my mom found a better name for her “baby girl”’. It’s called “The Most Influential” Sept 26 2014


Sept 26 2014

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

     My grandma was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Board, so on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, she wore either a white dress with white gloves and shoes, or she wore a navy blue dress with black shoes. Her role was to help people find their seats, or help moms with crying babies, or discretely remove small children who were in the throes of an uncontrollable tantrum. As for me, I had the honor of sitting with her in the back, and of course the switch was there with us too.     

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...

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