Tomorrow is my birthday. Over the last 41 years I have heard the story of my birth from different points of view, but by far one of my favorites is the way my grandmother tells it or should I say never lets me forget.
It was Easter Sunday. And like most God fearing Baptist women, my grandmother had went out and purchased a new dress to wear for the Easter services at church. In today’s society we buy new clothes at the drop of a hat and think nothing of it but back then money was tight. Buying new clothes from the department store was not done often. In fact my grandmother made most of the clothes the family wore, but once a year, on Easter, well now that was a special day and my grandmother had sought out and found the perfect Easter outfit. That Easter however God had bigger plans for her than showing of her new dress at church.
The story goes she was getting ready when they called to let her know my mom was in labor. Not wanting to get the smell of the hospital on her new dress she quickly changed before coming down to the hospital to wait the arrival of little ol me. She never made it to church that Easter, instead she welcomed a new granddaughter into the world.
She had a sense of humor about her and as I went though my twenties and thirties she would call me on my birthday, to wish me happy birthday and to remind me that she didn’t get to wear that pretty new dress. The conversation was always short and sweet, she didn’t see the need to stay on the phone to long. But her calling made my day. Grandmas are special.
As I was getting ready for bed this evening I realized I won’t be getting my call tomorrow. And that makes my heart sad. I miss her so much. But as I think back over the many things we shared the story of the day I was born makes me smile. We shared so many wonderful memories together. I was blessed to have her for 41 years my children had her in their lives. She taught me to love the Lord, to love my family, to enjoy game shows and candy. She taught me to quilt and she tried to teach me to cook (some things just can’t be done) She may not have got to wear that pretty new dress 42 years ago, but I bet you anything she is rocking an amazing dress just for me this year. And I’m sure she’s looking down laughing saying something like, Looky here baby girl isn’t it beautiful? I finally got to wear it.
Yes, yes you did grandma.
Grandma I’m sure your dress is gorgeous and I know you’re rocking those new angel wings. I know you can’t call me tomorrow but I know you’ll be with me. Let me fell your presence as only you can. Going though life without you these last few months has been hard, I miss you everyday. I will be looking for your sign to me tomorrow, I know if anyone can get a message from heaven to earth it will be you. Continue to guide me until I see you again. Love you ❤️
My brother and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house when we were growing up. They lived just up the holler (up the road for you city folk) which make it easy to see them everyday. We spent our evenings there until mom and dad made it in from work and during school breaks they also watched us during the day. Most of my childhood memories come from that house. Many of those memories are centered around a chair. An old spinning leopard print chair.
For as long as I can remember the chair has been part of our family. From what I can remember my grandmothers brother, my great uncle, gave her the chair. After a few years my grandmother wanted to replace the worn out upholstery. Her brother offered to take it to where he worked and replace the fabric for her with some that the shop was trying to get off their shelf. The end result a leopard print chair that matched absolutely nothing.
My brother and I would spend hours spinning in that chair. I can remember many times we would be in the chair and our grandma was yell in and tell us, You better not be spinning in my chair. You know someone could fall off and get hurt. All the while our grandpa was the one spinning us faster trying not to laugh. Good times. Precious memories. As the years went by grandpa replaced the legs as they wore out. With four different legs the chair did not set level making the spinning even more exciting to my younger self. Keep in mind this was our entertainment, there were no IPhones back then.
After my grandparents passed away the chair ended up at my parents house and when I got married the chair moved in with me. And just like my brother and I, my daughter and son enjoyed countless hours spinning in the chair and using it to make the best living room forts.
Fast forward to three years ago and we were now we are foster parents/ parents to four new little loves that also loved this chair. The forty plus years of childhood spinning had caught up to the chair. And one day while wild man and Diva were playing the back broke completely off. My heart sank and I cried for days. I could not bear to throw the chair out but we could not find anyone willing to repair the chair. So I covered it and placed it in our garage.
The chair moved with us when we came to Tennessee. Everyday I would see it in the black plastic in our garage. After we were all settled in I called around looking for a furniture repair shop. A few could do the upholstery work but not the repair while others could do the repair but not the upholstery. I was being to think my grandmas chair would never be again. Then I found a man named Jack. He told me that he would be more than happy to reupholster the chair and that he was sure his good buddy could repair it. I was excited. So early in December I dropped the chair off to his shop. I gave him the background story and he said he would try to match the fabric. I knew that would be a long shot so I told him if he could not to just do a soft black, grandma always wished it would have been plain to match her other furniture. I was not surprised when he called and said he could not find the print anywhere. Sad but not surprised. He went with a solid black and it was ready to be picked up.
So a few days ago I made my way over to his shop and picked up my grandmas chair. When I walked in and saw it I cried. It was beautiful. He had not found the print to match but he had found the original legs. He loved the story behind the chair and even kept what he could of the leopard print so that I could make a pillow or something with it. I could not thank him enough for saving the chair for me.
I brought it home and it now has a new place in my living room.
I know it’s not the leopard print that it once was but I do believe grandma would be pleased with how it turned out. It still stands out and will now be able to withstand many more years of children giggling while they spin around. And who knows maybe one day down the road my future grandchildren will smile as they recall the good times they had at grandmas spinning in her old chair just as I do. To many this is just a chair, but to me it’s memories, it’s a piece of my grandmother. It’s love and laughter. It’s part of my childhood. I am so thankful to have it back.
The last few days have been crazy. I have barely had time to go to the bathroom let alone write a blog with all of my little loves home for Christmas break. It’s been busy but so many memories have been made.
Our school district has been on break since December 20th and the kiddos return to school on January 8th. In talking with friends and family back home our break is insanely long compared to many of theirs. We started our break off by visiting my parents. My husband was on call for Christmas so I loaded our six little loves up and headed back to the comfort of the West Virginia hills and my momma’s house. The kids were excited to see their grandparents and to see big bubby aka our oldest son (he opted to stay in WV when we moved) It was nice catching up on things and hanging out with them.
Christmas Eve our oldest daughter showed up at my moms and we spent the evening with my mom’s side of the family. For as long as I can remember my grandparents have always hosted a Christmas party on Christmas Eve for the family. The last few years have been hard since papaw passed away and I knew this year would be even harder with Mamaw’s passing a few months ago. They loved Christmas and seeing everyone together. So we knew they would want the tradition to continue. The food was placed on the tables and the room began to fill with laugher and a hum that comes with a large family. Although there was a sadness with the absence of my grandparents (and others that have passed away) the amount of love that filled the room was unmeasurable. I’m sure they were looking down and were pleased.
Christmas morning our little loves gathered around the Christmas tree and waited patiently, well as patient as children under seven can, to open gifts and have breakfast. My husband surprised us by driving up so he could be with us Christmas morning. After breakfast and presents we headed to my in-laws and celebrated some more. After opening gifts we gathered around the table to some of my mother in laws homemade lasagna. It was so yummy. We spent a few more hours hanging out before loading up the van and heading back home.
Four hours later we arrived home and had another round of Christmas. Our house looks like Toys R Us exploded but I love it.
This week has been laidback. We have filled our days with pajama parties and building living forts. Sleepy days and cold days. Sure we have had the occasional sibling argument, okay at least three a day, and yes I agreed to fast food for lunch on Friday and ended up going to McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Little Caesars because no one could agree on what to eat (I know it’s crazy but I also know I’m not the only mom to do this to keep the peace or to keep my/her sanity) but its Christmas break. It’s all good.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. May God bless you in 2018.
In honor of Veterans Day I thought I would talk about a few of the finest men I know. I am honored to have/had them all in in my life.
I have several uncles that have served our country proudly. Two however I would like to tell you about, my uncle A and my uncle L. Both of these men helped shape my life in more ways than one.
When I was younger I belonged to a clogging (an Appalachian form of dance) team. I along with my brother, mother, and father all danced on this team. So did my uncle A, aunt and cousin. We practiced weekly and on most weekends we performed at different festivals. I loved those days. Our two families are close thanks to those times. We also spent many of our “free” weekends at my grandmothers and if we were there you could almost bet my aunt, uncle and cousin were there as well. In fact most of my childhood memories include them. I would give anything to have him spin me around the dance floor one more time to one of our old routines.
Now my uncle L is on my dads side. He has a love for motorcycles and for Jesus. He is one of the sweetest men I know. He always has a kind word to share and he makes sure to tells me just how much he loves me every time I see him. When I was younger and still lived at home he, my aunt and their two kids lived less than a mile from me. Family is everything to him. And I will never be to old for one of his bear hugs.
I am blessed to have had both of my grandfathers serve our county as well. Both Papaw W and Papaw L served during World War II. Papaw W was in the Navy and Papaw L was in the Army. My Papaw W always had a story to tell and made sure we knew who the greatest hunter/or fisherman was. Later in life he would quiz me on Bible verses or share a passage that he thought was interesting. My Papaw L was my rock when I was a little girl. I spent most of my early childhood days at his and mamaw’s house. Having them as our neighbors made it easy to see them daily. We would pass the days by working in the garden or playing games of Canasta. I would ride in the back of his old black Ford pickup truck to the store were he would buy me a soda and candy bar for under a dollar. Those were the days. I would love to be able to hear just one more hunting story from Papaw W or to be able to play one more game of Canasta with Papaw L. I know they both watch over me in all that I do.
I even married into a family that has served our country with pride. My father-in-law was in the Air Force and my husband was in the Army. My father-in-law fought in the Vietnam War. He is the best when it comes to being an all around great guy. From the first day I met him he welcomed me into his family. He showed me how to eat chicken wings and helped introduce me to NASCAR. He is the first person people go to when something needs done. He works with his church making sure all the local kids have food to eat through the back pack program and he is always the first one to offer to help if something comes up. He would give the shirt of his back if he thought someone needed it. He is also a pretty awesome papaw to our little ones, just ask any of them. When he says “I love ya girl.” I know he means it.
My husband, my hero, my rock, and my partner. He fought for our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He always has my back no matter how crazy things get. He works hard to provide a good life for the kids and me. He opened his heart up to foster care when many others would have said no. He makes me happier than I have ever been. He is my shoulder to cry on, my go to guy when I need good laugh, and my stealer of the sheets at night. My favorite place in the world is in his arms.
I also have many cousins and friends that have served the Red, White, and Blue proudly. To all of them I say THANK YOU!!!
The point of this blog is to show that our Veterans are not nameless people or people without faces. Our veterans are everyday people. They are someones grandfather, father, uncle, cousin, husband, son, daughter, aunt, mother, or grandmother. They are real people with real families yet they choose to serve to give us the freedoms we have. They sacrifice so much to give us opportunities many Americans today take for granted. Freedom is not free. It comes with a cost few are willing to pay.
So today, as well as every day, if you see a veteran thank them for their service. I am honored to be part of a family that has served our country over the years. To all those that have served or are currently serving I salute you. Thank you for being you. And God bless you.
It was Sunday afternoon and I found myself reminiscing of a simpler time. I find myself thinking back to a time where I had no bills to pay, no worries or no fears. Back to a time where my weekends were spent with my cousins on my grandparents farm chasing chickens or swimming in the creek (when my parents allowed us) or pretending to be the cast off of the Dukes of Hazzard. Those were the days
I was blessed in many ways growing up. One of the greatest blessings by far was having both sets of my grandparents while growing up. I was also fortunate to have a set of great-grandparents that I had the pleasure of getting to know and love. Not many people can say that. This post it in honor of all of my grandparents.
I will start with my dad’s parents. My papaw L and Mamaw S. I can’t think of any week in my childhood that these two were not involved somehow. They lived up the holler (up the road for you city folk) from us. My brother and I spend the days with them while my parents worked and after we started school my papaw would pick us up after school until my parents got home. We spent our days playing games of Canasta, that’s actually how I figured out how to count, or working in the garden, running wild in the open fields and eating gooseberries and rhubarb off the creek bank. Back then we could ride in the back of papaw’s old black Ford to the store(no seatbelt required) where he would give us a dollar to spend on whatever we liked. Usually I got a can of Dr Pepper and a candy bar and still had a few cents left over. When we would return we would help him carry the groceries up the steps and into the kitchen were my mamaw patiently waited. She always made sure to have something on the table for dinner when my parents arrived to pick us up, a few of my favorites: her steak and gravy and her homemade chili.
She gave me a love/hate relationship with scary movies. She absolutely loved to watch them but hated to watch them alone so I would stay up with her and not sleep for nights after words fearing Freddy really was going to get me. I find it funny that my children love scary stuff and I can’t bring myself to watch anything scarier than what plays on Disney Junior at Halloween time. If they only knew what I went through lol. My papaw was one of a kind. Strong and brave. He gave me a love for the outdoors and helped me shot my first gun. I lost them both before I was sixteen. But our bond will last my lifetime.
Both of my grandfathers served our country in WWII. Papaw L was and Army man while my Papaw W was a Navy man. To see the way these high paid athletes are disrespecting our flag, our national anthem and country makes me sick. I know both of them would be shaking their heads. They were proud to be Americans and proud to have served their country. Their love for our freedom has flowed throughout the generations that followed them.
My papaw W and mamaw B lived about an hour away from us. We spend our weekends there with our countless cousins on my moms side. On Saturday nights the men played cards while the lady’s chatted in the living room or watched us kids run around outside. And on Sunday morning mamaw B made sure we all made it to church. My papaw W and mamaw B gave me a love for the Bible early on in life. Some of my favorite times with papaw were our Bible talkes after I was a young adult. I remember going camping and fishing on the river. And with the arrival of spring it meant it was time to dig ramps (kind of like a wild onion) for the annual ramp dinner. My family was not rich but I never weren’t, we were blessed with something much more valuable than money.After my dad’s parents passed away and my moms parents moved to town we spent more time at their house. My mamaw B’s mom, Great Grandma W, moved in with them. Most of my memories of her come from this time. Great Grandma W was a firecracker. She could preach the Word of God and tell the funniest jokes. She and mamaw quilted many blankets and made many Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for us as we grow up. Their house was had food one the table, you never knew who would stop by to share a meal.
My oldest daughter and son have the privilege of getting to spend time with them often. My son when he was old enough got to go on the annual hunting trip with my dad, my papaw W, and my uncle. These three men helped shape him into the young man he is today. Those hunting trips are something he will treasure forever. My daughter was my papaw’s football buddy. Not many families have five generation photos but we were blessed to be able several of them. My beautiful Great Grandma went to be with Jesus when she was 102. Just a few years ago I lost my papaw W. He was at the hunting camp with my dad, son and uncle. He passed away doing what he loved to do. My heart still aches.
A few weeks ago I was able to make a trip make home, while there I made sure to stop by and see me beautiful mamaw B. That trip she remembered me and we shared some good laughs at my brothers experience, sorry bub.
She’s all I have left and I hate being hours away. I hate that life happens and I can’t just pick up and go let I did when I was younger. I hate being an adult. How I wish I could turn back time to when I was 14 or 15 and still have them all with me. I am very Thankful to still have her.
I hope I have made them proud. I hope as they look down from heaven they say, “See that girl right there well that’s my granddaughter.” I hope I have turned out half a well as they had hoped. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t smell something or see something that reminds me of at least one of them. Both of my adopted daughters are named in someway to honor my mamaw S and mamaw B. My oldest was named in honor of my great grandma W. I hope that they carry the names given to them with their heads held high knowing just how special they are. I pray they too become strong independent women as those they are named after. I pray that all my children know just how blessed our family is. For even though my little loves are too young to remember on their own they will know who their Great grandparents and Great Great Grandma was through the stories I share. Oh how I miss you all so….
And mamaw B I will be back to see you soon, until then your Baby girl loves you keep those nurses on their toes ❤️
From our beautiful chaos to yours be sure to tell those you love just how much they mean to you. Cherish the moments for a lifetime.