Sunday, October 15, 2006

Making something out of nothing at all

I have a letter that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother when they were dating. It shows truly how he was. He gave her the facts of life in Yukon Oklahoma. Box lunch auctions and the weather written down to the last detail. I wonder what she read in that letter that made her heart beat faster. She was a lady with money in love with a man who was a farmer. Farming was a good profession back in the day and it was honorable so she wasn’t marring down. They lost the farm when my grand father became ill.


Life was hard but she still loved this stoic and hard man. They made it through the depression leaving my grandfather incapable of letting go of anything it seemed. He had stacks of news papers, jars, and bottles everywhere. This once wealthy woman who lived in the rich part of Oklahoma City was living in a trash bin of a home. She treasured new things and wouldn’t use them. We found boxes of night gowns, robes, and house shoes when she died, never worn. New towels and sheets were neatly kept in the closet.

My grandparents were poor, how poor? They lived in a very run down home, by run down I mean holes in the floor. They had two bedrooms only because the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom were built on. That’s a hard way to raise seven children. In a two room house. Two died during an influenza outbreak. Some of you might remember that year. It took many lives. I’ve always wondered about one of my aunts that died, I have no idea why she has stayed in my head but she seemed to always be there. I’ve stood at her grave holding my son’s hand, the same age at the time of her death. I thought about how sad it must have been for them.


My grandmother seemed to always be old to me. She showed signs of a hard life with grandpa and her children. Four boys and one girl left after the girls died. One thing that remained was her beauty within, you saw it in her smile, her love, her heart. I loved them all. Dad tells me you could hear her singing as she walked home from town. I wish that I had been given that opportunity.


When we would come for dinner she would have a feast on the table, an amazing feast. As you came in she greeted you with a hug, yes even you would have been welcomed in by her loving arms. The incredible smell tempted you to the table for a quick preview of a taste, you had to be quick because you were about to be scooted outside. Her pickles were famous in the family. The pickled beets were warm and so good I could eat the whole bowl, green beans, corn, and potatoes all from grandpa’s garden. Grandpa was a farmer so he knew how to grow things in the rocky soil. My grandmother, who never seemed to have much in the way of money, could cook a feast fit for a king. Her laughter, her smile, and love were the best part of the visit.


I wonder how far we’ve come from then and is it an advancement?

My grandmother loved a man who wrote of practical things, she lived in a humble home, she could cook a feast, she could find love for everyone that came to her door, a woman in my time might have walked away from such a hard life, become bitter and angry. Not my grandmother, not even after the strokes took her ability to walk without a walker, not even with her slurred speech, did she give a bitter word.


Her love and laughter will always remain with me, she seemed to make love out of nothing at all.

7 comments:

codepoke said...

Milly,

You have posted something so true and personal again. Wow.

What a beautiful story. Praise the Lord for love that's loving, even if it has to be from another time.

DugALug said...

Milly,

There is an old song by Rich Mullins song called First Family off of his Never Picture Perfect album, that really comes to my mind. He wrote about his own family (only 5 brothers and sisters). The chorus goes something like this:

===
You talk about your miracles
You talk about your faith
But my dad he could make things grow
Out of Indiana clay
Mom could make a gourmet meal
Out of just cornbread and beans
And they worked to give faith hands and feet
And somehow gave it wings
===

Thanks for a great post.

God Bless
Doug

L.E.Meredith said...

Thanks; sounds like my childhood. we were always grateful no matter what it was.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult for us to understand how hard life was for some people living before our modern days of convenience at every corner.

My Grandparents farmed on Beaver Mountain OK (wherever that is,) and worked from sun up to sun down. People had to be tough in those days, and they were.

Your Grandmother was a neat lady; your grandchildren will speak kindly of you as well... :)

Milly said...

Larry,
I’ve never heard of Beaver Mountain. I wonder if it’s now something else. I’ll do some asking around. It stands to reason that it’s somewhere in the Oklahoma Mountains.

Thank you for the nice words. All of you.

Karen said...

Milly, thank you for that story! It's a lot like my grandparents' story...farm, etc. You took me back for a good memory!
Your gramma sounded like an incredibly fine lady. Seems you take after her.

Maeghan said...

Wow ...
Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story.