Who Was Your Favorite Grown-up?
When you were a child who was your favorite grown-up? My favorite grown-up was my maternal grandmother. Yesterday, I went to her grave site and recalled two of my favorite memories of her. I have many memories of fun grown-ups, although for some reason she's the one who sticks in my mind the most. My other grandparents were great too, of course, but we lived down the street from her in a new neighborhood branched off from an older street or lane, called Moss Side Lane. The name Moss Side came from the moss that hung from the oak trees that shadowed the street.
With the exception of my parents, this grandmother had the most influence in my life. She taught me to wish upon a star, to garden, curtsy, talk to people, read…
We called her Nana, and she said things like, "DAT Burn it!" and "A stitch in time saves nine." She had a garden in a huge beautiful yard which she embraced with passion. Determined to enlighten us on the basics of gardening and yard work, she would bribe us for the opportunity to put us to work. The funny thing is, my brothers and I thought our work was actually worth the gratuity. In order to teach us something, she endured the arguments, temper tantrums, and excuses with the grace of a saint. However, this was a tolerance reserved only for her grandchildren. She wasn’t a tolerant woman or a saint, she was just a grandmother. Always on the side of her children and grand children, right or wrong, in addition to having a lesson to teach …
On one of our gardening opportunities, I was working my heart out when (I was singing to myself and playing with a rake) she called out to me, "Ann, come see." When I reached her, I saw she found a baby rabbit lying limp on the ground. The soil, recently tilled, had disturbed a nearby rabbit hole. Evidently, a baby rabbit ran out of his home, and the tractor ran him over. The little baby was in bad shape. Nana yelled across the rows of vegetables, "Honey, will you come help me with this?"
I can see that baby rabbit in my mind's eye as clear as if it were yesterday.
Then she said, "Go get the hoe! We are going to have to put it out of its misery"
It took me a moment to realize she didn't mean WE were going to have to put the rabbit out of its misery, she meant ME! It was clear there was no "we" to striking that rabbit to death with a garden hoe! There was only a "me" to do it! She handed me the rake, and looked at me as if to say how hard it was for her to teach life's cruelest lessons.
"Go ahead, it is the best thing to do for the rabbit, honey, we cannot let it suffer."
"Nana," I exclaimed, "I ‘m not going to chop it's head off, I'm sorry, but I can't.”
Although this protest held the promise of making her angry, she was childlike and warm in her response, "Do you think your mother can bring it back to life?" (My mother had the skills and talent required of a veterinarian.)
Before she changed her mind, I went and got a box to put in it, and brought the little rabbit home for my mother to doctor. She did her best to save him by using an eyedropper for nourishment and water, but he died.
I brought the rabbit back and we buried him near the garden. That's when she told me the story of his relatives, and where they all lived under the ground. Later that evening, we sat on her back porch steps and she taught me how to wish upon a star. I remember the inflections in her voice moving in time with the crickets, her black hair and lightning bugs dancing around in the yard. She had the best rhyme: “Wishes come true when you wish on a star/Since the man in the moon knows where you are/No matter how near no matter how far/He sees you and me and knows where we are.”
“Nana,” I asked. “Yes honey?" is what she said as she pulled me close.
“Where is the man in the moon?”
“Right there honey! Look!“
I felt her draw me in tight, hold me against her heart, then she pointed to the sky and said, “Look baby, right there!”
I wish I could ask her where she is and catch up on the questions I have, or have had, or questions I don’t remember.
What do you remember the most about your favorite grown-up?
Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons
Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.
Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.
Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light
She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free
For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well
Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination
Written for Ann
Of The Horoscope Junkie
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'
F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."
An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"