I had warm fuzzy memories yesterday. I’ve always remembered my Mam-ma’s birthday (my Dad’s Mom) as we approached Christmas. It’s on the 14th. For some reason when I think of her birthday, I think of her fudge. My guess is that my Dad would go out to see her around her birthday and she would send home a box (whatever box she could find in lieu of tupperware) of homemade fudge for us to enjoy around Christmas. Sometimes the fudge would not come until Christmas Eve as one of our gifts. I think most of the time my birthday gift to her was given to her on Christmas as I grew older. But I have such fond memories of her. And her day was still celebrated in my heart yesterday. We lost her when Katy was pretty young. I had a hard time at that funeral. I could not leave her casket and seeing her for the last time was not something I could do.
Mam-ma was very involved in my life. She lived out in the countryside of Spring Hill, in the old house above. I loved going out in the country and spending the night. Better yet two nights, and if I was lucky in the summer- a whole week! It was truly a vacation for me for even as a young child I had pretty rigid routines, house chores, and was kept quite busy at home. Mom and Dad were always on the go it seemed and there was always a lot that I was told to do, a lot of chores – vacuuming, dusting, putting up the dishes every night, helping in the yard – I even mowed our yard when no one else could – so getting to take a trip to the country to me, back then, meant “free time”. It was truly a vacation from chores and I could relax and do what I wanted all week long with no one giving orders (sorry Mom).
Going to Mam-ma’s meant creative time. I didn’t think of it like that back then – I didn’t even really think of no chores for the week either as mentioned above – I just liked going. And looking back today, I can see why I enjoyed it so much.
Mam-ma loved to write and tell stories. She wrote The Bear Creek News article for the Columbia paper for their community for a long time. I even wrote in it a couple of times as she aged, at the end before she had to give it up. I told stories of being at her house out in the country.
Mam-ma would tell me made up bear stories as we went to sleep. She would just make them up as she told it. It usually involved a bear family and they went to town, went fishing, and lived out in the country of course. It was always fun to hear what the bear family would do when they went to town – they bought material for sewing, and honey for their biscuits, and Daddy bear would hunt and fish and bring dinner to the table and Momma bear made homemade biscuits. Little bear got ice cream. ;-).
She would feed me oatmeal at bedtime. I never ate at bedtime at home. But the oatmeal was soothing and made me sleepy and I would drift off to her bear stories. Before the bear stories we would play rhyming games: time, rhyme, mime – and so forth back and forth until we couldn’t think of any more and would start making up words so as not to be the one that would lose and we would just laugh and laugh and laugh at the made up words that rhymed.
In the mornings, she would always have homemade biscuits or breakfast to order. Did I want eggs and bacon? Yep, she had it. Did I want oatmeal? Yep. Grits? Yep. My guess is she stocked up when I visited.
She would have the window open – as there was an air conditioner in one of the rooms, maybe two, but you had to close the door and be in that room only when it was on. Usually we did that in the afternoons. In the mornings with the right windows open there was a cross breeze. Her kitchen was below a big tree. Lots of pecan trees out there so might have been a pecan tree. She would reach through the window and put peanut butter on a sanitized styrofoam meat tray that comes with your meat purchases, for the birds. Particularly a red bird named “Pete” because that was the sound he made when he talked to her in the mornings. Pete, Pete, Pete, lol. She would talk to Pete at her window and I would hear about Pete as she would write to me often and tell me things like that when I was not there.
She would talk to Pete as she fixed us breakfast and watch him eat his peanut butter – probably a few feet away from her – as he was at her window as she moved about the kitchen. Grandaddy Davis would also be there in the living room/bedroom – there were beds in the lower part of the house which also had sitting areas. He never seemed to have much strength and did not feel like doing much. He had had Tuberculosis a lot earlier in life. My Mam-ma said she nursed him back to health, but I don’t think he ever had much energy or felt like much. He would mainly just stare out the window, listen the news, watch TV (loved Sanford and Sons) and sit by the stove in the winter. He would go outside and sit and just “while the time away”. Never really said much. Was aloof most of the time. Mam-ma waited on him all day. He would put in his order and she would go fix it. He loved bananas and vanilla “ice milk”. She would fix him up.
She and I would leave each other notes in a mail box she fixed at her house in the dining room (center room of the house). I would put in my orders too. “Can I have some homemade lemonade or Kool-Aid”. The country version of Kool Aid was Jello in cold water and you drank it fast before it geled. lol lol. She would “invite me to lunch” by leaving me mail in the box. I would check the box and leave a message back that I would be delighted to have lunch! Lunch was usually the main meal of the day – and snacks and leftovers were eaten late afternoon. I guess that is why oatmeal is good before bedtime? lol. Lunches was usually fried chicken, potatoes or potato patties – kinda like latkes.
Mam-ma and I would work on scrap books. She showed me how to keep a scrapbook. She kept magazines around and I would search through them for things I liked to put in my scrapbook. Usually pictures of dogs! So I kept busy a lot working on my scrapbook. I should still have that thing somewhere downstairs. I should look for it. I remember writing things in a fresh piece of aluminum foil and pasting that in there. I think we painted aluminum foil black and the wrote into it. Something like that.
We just always had the best time. She had an organ that I learned to play using the books that told you what numbers to push and buttons to the side. I loved playing that. I would spend hours at it (in the room with the a/c in the afternoons) and would put in my order for “kool-aid”.
I used to love sitting outside and I would watch the cows, scare the cows, and would ask Mam-ma about the neighbors. She would tell me all about them. The Thackers, The Browns, the Camuses, and the Mr & Mrs Somebody that I cannot think of their last names right now but they had the only a/c out there for a while when I was really small. One hot summer we dropped by to see them b/c we were hot and needed to cool off. lol lol Seems their name started with a “T”.
One day Mam-ma gave me a birthday party and kids from around came. We had coca colas in the little bottles and cake. It was sweet. I think I was about four.
One of the best things Mam-ma did for me though was to let me have a puppy and she kept it for me. Her name was Friskie. She was a dachshund mix. Cute as a button. I had to have the puppy – cried over it for days after Aunt Martha had taken me to see the puppies in the pet shop. I was instantly in love with it. In church I was crying over it still and I believe Daddy said if Mam-ma would agree to keep it that he’d try to get the puppy for me. He called the pet shop owner and explained I had cried all weekend for the puppy and the pet owner let Daddy come buy it even though the pet shop was closed. Aunt Martha usually took me for ice cream and realized she was in trouble for taking me to the pet shop – ha! That was always kindof a joke. No more pet shops for Sonya. Only ice cream trips!
Grandaddy was mad at Mam-ma for not consulting him and did not want the puppy. Rumor is he wouldn’t speak to Mam-ma for days. lol. Then finally Mam-ma said she heard Grandaddy talking to someone. It was Friskie. They became inseparable. He loved that dog. But I told him when I was there, she was my dog. We play argued over whose dog she was. lol. Friskie loved for me to come out there though and we’d play and play. I would pet her and talk to her and we were best buds.
I have pics somewhere of Friskie – probably in my scrapbook. But I found these old pics on facebook of Mam-ma and of me. Mam-ma is on the left. This is at our house though on Alpine Drive in Columbia. I was probably in the 8th grade here.
Not sure what Mam-ma was looking at in the background. But Daddy would have been taking the pic and you know – men….he didn’t wait til everyone was ready, LOL. Look at my Sean Cassidy album on the floor. The neighbor had given it to me earlier that day on Christmas Eve morning at a ham breakfast across the street. And look at my cute sister in her little onesie PJ’s. What about that 70’s leisure suit I’m wearing? lol I liked Mom’s blue sweater with the Aztek markings on the sleeve. Bet that came from JC Penney’s. Loved looking through the JC Penney catalog and as a teen I got to mark it up. I circled what I wanted – a lot of things – but it was a surprise b/c Mom picked of all those things circled what I would get. I’m sure I put special stars by my favorites. lol
But look at this one of me at Mam-ma’s house. That old house with that old wallpaper. But filled with antiques. I cannot remember the dolls name to the left of me in the pic but that is Chatty Cathy and Big Dorris to the right of the pic. I always loved those PJ’s too. Truth be known, I ended up being more attached to my stuffed animals than the dolls. But I played school with the dolls and bossed them around, lol! Upstairs at her house in the unused room, Mam-ma made a play room for me. It had a bed, a pretend kitchen, a table, all my toys that Mom sent out there to be kept when it was overloaded at home, wasps at the windows, and ghosts. lol. We always talked about the ghosts in the house. I asked how many lived there and she said “all of them”.
Lots of fond memories at Mam-ma’s. She wrote me every week in college without fail. I often wrote her back. I often would stop by Spring Hill on the way home and surprise her. She would listen to my boyfriend woes as I could trust her to not bring judgment on me or tell me what to do or force her opinions on me. She would just let me talk and she would listen. And she would slyly give advice without it seeming like it. Sometimes we would even make fun of the situation because it made it lighter of a load and we would both just laugh and laugh.
Yeah, she was so good to me. We had a deal that if God would let her, she would come back and be a ghost and visit me. I told her as a young child when I realized that people died and she would talk about getting old – that I didn’t want her to die but if she did – please come visit me as a ghost. She said she would if God would let her. So far I don’t see her, except that my life has been filed with red birds around since she passed. Both my grandmothers loved red birds. It’s a sign “everything is going to be ok” when I see them. Usually when I’m worried about something and one will fly unusually close to me and say “Pete, Pete”.
There is something I wondered though. Could Mam-ma have sent Maisy? Maisy seemed to have a personality akin to Mam-ma – as wild as that seems. A loyal and gentle personality that was always looking after me and giving me attention. Well if so, and God will let you – Mam-ma – please send me another dog like Maisy. ;-).
Better get off to work now. It’s payroll day. Had a huge Christmas shopping $600 grocery run last night. Most I’ve ever spent – and mostly just finishing Christmas. I had a LOT of gift cards to buy. Had some work buds to buy for, stocking stuffers to get, and I bought some beer and wine for the house. Believe it or not we are getting low as we are running out of George’s homemade wines. I was shocked. I also believe that I have bought too much for stocking stuffers, LOL. AT least that is solved! I’ll wrap what doesn’t work in. But now I have a bit more wrapping on a smaller scale. And whew! That was a lot of money going out at once. I guess we always spent that much but just over time and in several places. Mainly this year’s Christmas is sponsored by Amazon and Publix, lol. Seems like there is less Corona virus in Publix than Kroger. I know that is a false security, but Publix seems cleaner, nicer, smaller, friendlier, and they will offer to help you out to the car which is nice for a woman after dark in the world we live in. So Publix gets a lot of my business lately. I like Kroger but it is not as clean, not as friendly, and not as fun to shop in quite frankly. It’s not as personal. I love Publix! OK stop typing and go to work Sonya!