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Her Words Were Few…

January 30, 2008

I really don’t remember her talking very much. I remember her always knitting and crocheting and caring for others, one of her sister’s, other women and their homes and finally, once she reached her 90’s, she decided to only provide care one other person, Ms. Rosa, who happened to be five or so years younger. I am not sure exactly what year her life started. There was no birth certificate, but she was either in her late 60’s or early 70’s when I came along.

I was the only one that was allowed on her bed. No one else could even sit on it. She loved baseball, watching it on TV, listening on the radio. I always wondered what she saw or heard that held her so captive.

I know there were times when I talked non-stop, falling asleep, talking to her about everything in my life. I don’t recall any of the words I used. I don’t even want to. It was enough that she was there and willing to listen.

I remember sitting next to her, trying to catch a glimpse of the magic she wove as her large bronzed needles clicked and multi-colored loops formed, intertwined, grew taut and wide expanding and becoming gifts for family, friends and loved ones, me included.

She gave me so much with so few words. She taught me that I could fly. She never repeated anything I said to anyone else, including my parents. She even scolded my parents for me. She always had a gift of potted meat, vienna sausages or fruit cocktail. I never left her home empty handed. I never left with a burdened soul.

There was so much I wanted and should have done for her, that in fact I never did. The morning she died, she returned to angelhood. In fact, that morning, she forever etched in my memory, her philosophy. She appeared to me in a dream. She showed me again with few words, that we don’t need to see our wings to fly and wherever we land, yes we MUST land, we should never forget who we are.

Those lessons didn’t become clear until much later in life. Try a few hours ago. I now understand what she heard in those baseball games. She heard childhood. She saw getting up to bat as what counts. Not strike-outs, base hits or home runs. She saw that no matter how you hit the ball, it lands, somewhere and someone ALWAYS picks it up or catches it. Baseball was the metaphor for her life.

She walked to church as long as she could, maybe even when she shouldn’t because she knew her place and who she was. She wanted me to know that for myself. I’ve been stubborn about it. I mean about knowing it, and even more so in living it. She lived it always.

I know that her world wasn’t always easy to accept, especially in 1907, when every black person was run out of Silver City with the clothes on their backs and whatever they could carry. She was possibly 5 or a little older, yet she NEVER stopped caring. I never heard her speak an unkind word.

I understand that when she landed, she became human like the rest of us. She wasn’t perfect. No one is. That is why her philosophy was and is so important. It’s the standing up to bat that counts. The last fly ball, the last strike-out nor the last home-run count. It’s the knowing and the practicing of the art of standing up that keeps us remembering who we are.

My moments with her are fuzzy and warm. There are no crisp lines or clear delineations. Are there ever?

I forget all the time, that I am the only one that can hold and swing my bat. Someone will pick up the ball. Someone might even catch it, but they can’t do that until I remember to swing.

I thank my Great Grandmother for her understanding, her wisdom, her kindness and her compassion. Mostly I thank her for pointing out that my wings have always been there.

I have always been able to fly.

I have always had the bat.

It was me that was stopping ME.

A contribution to the Hump Day hmm, hosted by Julie Pippert at Using Her Words

  1. January 30, 2008 2:49 pm

    What an amazing person to have known, what amazing things you opened up and received from knowing her. What a heart.

    So glad you contributed this beautiful and sweet post!

  2. January 30, 2008 3:20 pm

    Wow. She sounds so special. You are so lucky to have had someone in your life like that.

    Thanks for joining us today!

  3. February 2, 2008 2:50 pm

    Here you are!!! I am so excited to have found this place. R, this is so incredibly well written and rich. Your grandmother led by her example, and what an important example to provide you with. I honestly honestly believe that the greatest thing we can learn is life is that we need to get up. Over and over again, we only need to stand back up and pick up that bat. I’m so excited to have this place to add to my reader……

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