Saturday, October 10, 2009

Granny and Popa

Yesterday, my little cousin sent me this picture. Actually, she's forty-something with both her sons in college, so why do I still think of her as my little cousin? Old habits have a way of hanging on, I suppose. Anyway, she had just visited Granny and Popa's grave and took this picture with her cell phone.
I was at work when the picture flashed across my screen. In an instant, I was swept from the rat race of the modern day world back to a slower, simpler time.
Granny and Popa were my father's parents. Both were colorful characters and you are unfortunate if you did not know them. Popa was a prosperous cotton farmer in rural Alabama until one day the family, which included my dad, his two brothers and one sister, returned home from church in their horse and buggy, to find their home burned to the ground. To add to the loss, Granny and Popa did not believe in banks, having lived through the Great Depression. All of their money was inside the home.
There was no government welfare in those days. Even if there had been, my grandparents would not have accepted it. My family tree is firmly rooted in proud, hard working Scotch-Irish people who believed in the notion that if you find yourself in a hole, you dig yourself out. The neighbors came together and donated what clothing they could spare. My father told of having to wear a girls' blouse to school. As a child, I took pleasure in teasing him about that. My own two sons carried on that tradition quite nicely!
Granny made quilts from discarded clothing and whatever scraps of fabric she could come by. One of these quilts, a postage stamp pattern, is one of my prized possessions. As a young child, I watched her hand sew one inch square pieces of fabric into a beautiful quilt large enough to cover a double size bed. I don't remember how long it took her to finish that quilt. But I do remember Popa watching her make it and complaining that she was wasting her time on it. He could not invision the finished product or the fact that one day I would hold that quilt in such high regard.
In his advancing years, Popa often spoke of the Great Depression and the hard times people had during that era. I look back now and think what a real-life connection to history my cousins and I had, even if we didn't realize it at the time.
An urgent e-mail that popped up on my computer screen jolted me back to the modern day world and I was off to take care of yet another issue. But somewhere deep inside my being I held on to the thought of how lucky I am to have been influenced in my growing up years by Granny and Popa.

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