Wednesday, August 17, 2011

She was 92!

When someone has lived a long and (mostly) happy life, a funeral becomes not a time of grief, but an opportunity to share wonderful memories and to reflect on how lucky you are to have that person in your life. Our family enjoyed looking through old black and white photos of Grandma Hall as a baby, a young girl, a jodphur-wearing teenager with a piebald horse, a grinning newlywed tucked under the arm of a lanky man in a fedora and a double-breasted suit. He was grinning too! A young mother gazing at her baby with adoring eyes, oblivious to the camera. A proud grandmother surrounded by a motley crew of disheveled kids. A time to be grateful, to feel lucky and blessed to have her.

Grandmother died on August 6th after a life well-lived. Old enough to be born into a family whose chief means of transportation was horse and wagon. Old enough to remember when cotton and corn were picked by hand and loaded into the wagon, which was pulled by the horse, to the gin or grist mill. Old enough to have played in a yard that was filled with flowers instead of grass. Old enough to have used a wood burning stove.... even as a newlywed! Old enough to have lived through The Great Depression (her father lost the farm), to watch a husband leave to fight in World War II and to get confused about "swim, swam, swum" because they changed the rule after she finished school.

Old enough to call jeans "dungarees" and the refrigerator the "ice box". Old enough to remember phone operators and doctors who made house calls, and to have made enough chocolate chip cookies, cheese straws, chewy cake, pimento and cheese, apple salad, banana pudding, fried cornbread, and apple tarts to feed a small army of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Old enough to call earrings "ear bobs" and to say things like: "Pretty is as pretty does" and "sit up straight, like a lady".

She loved and was loved and had a pretty marvelous life. There were no grand trips or thrilling adventures. Much of her happiness came in helping others. She and my grandfather would take widows out for Sunday Drives. She sent meals by our house weekly when my mother went back to work and sent her famous deviled eggs to church suppers.

To me she was this elegant blonde who managed to look beautiful with minimal effort. Who never went anywhere without her nails done, her clothes pressed neatly, her hair done up and a pair of earbobs on. She would show me how to do things like paint my nails (a long swipe down first one side, then the other, then a smooth stroke down the middle to finish the first coat), pluck my brows (ouch!) and to sit with my legs tucked to the side. As my cousin Lisa said, I think I'm letting my grandmothers down on the elegance, stately score. I'm usually a mussed, unorganized mess. Despite detailed lessons at her knee, I still can't paint my own fingernails worth a doodle or sew a button on a shirt. But she loved us anyway. Even if those lessons must have seemed like the epitome of futility at times.

She was easy to love.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Running Faster

... but can't catch the carrot. Too many balls in the air, irons in the fire, cooks in the kitchen, etc.

It has been so long.

I really haven't had two coherent thoughts to string together, much less enough for an entire post. I've been avoiding the blog because I know I'm so far behind on catching up with what is happening in everyone else's lives and maybe I really didn't want to think about how much I've been missing out on in the blogiverse. You, dear readers, know that you will end up with a potluck kind of post I'm sure. So here we go!

It's hot. My brain seems as sluggish as the muggy, humid weather. Blergh. Even the pool isn't refreshing. The water is more like bath water than anything cool and relaxing. We took the kids to Magnolia Springs State Park last week and they declared it "the hottest day ever." We did the picnic thing (of course there were ants), took a short nature walk and packed it in. The stop for ice cream on the way home salvaged the day I think.

The last month has been a whirlwind. We've been away for a trip, the kids have been off with each set of grandparents, we squeezed in a date night and a viewing of Harry Potter (loved it!).

My car has decided to crank only intermittently. All repair attempts thus far have failed. Two weeks of working fine, then it won't crank. Then it cranks for two weeks, then it won't. New battery and alternator, new crank relay (?).... and of course when the mechanic tries, it works just fine. We'd really like to get another good year or so out of it before trading it in on a new one. Stupid car.

Rob's mother lost her keys and swore up and down that Rob had them. He didn't. You all know how organized he is... no way would he be unable to find them if he had them. We looked high and low and under and over and around and then did it all again. No keys. She was still convinced he had them. He didn't. I did. He found them in my purse when he went to get my cell phone out to charge it. Oops. In my defense, that thing is HUGE (think Hermione's bag) and has about a billion compartments. I think she may have given them to me before they left for the airport and in the thousands of events that took place betwixt and between I completely forgot it. Did I say "oops" already?

Abby, who has never met anything that was childproof, managed to open the safety cap on the vitamins and took four. While I was lecturing on pill safety, her brother threw in his own little cautionary tale: "Abby, Elvis DIED from taking too much medicine!!" He even had his hands up in the air and his eyebrows in outrage position. It was so much more effective than anything I could have said. Even if she doesn't know who Elvis is.

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