According to my mother, my grandmother was quite entertaining when her children had sleep overs. Mom loves to tell the story about how Mawmaw had to hide a black eye for a week because she was too embarrassed to tell people that she got it when she was playing hide and go seek with a bunch of kids in the dark and ran smack dab into the open closet door. I know she would have laughed her butt off at me when, doing the same thing, I got stuck on top of the refrigerator and had to yell for help. I told you I was a lot like Mawmaw!
Another memory that always makes me smile is the great pants adventure. My grandmother NEVER wore pants. She wore her homemade dresses when she stayed home or visited friends, and she wore her store bought dresses to church and other public places. It didn't matter if it was twenty degrees outside; she would just put on her stockings and repeat over and over again, "Bon Dieu, il fait froid." ("Good Lord, it's cold!) I remember one time when she made an exception. My family spent many weekends at "The Old Place," the piece of farmland about twenty miles out of town where my PawPaw grew up (and where I live now). My parents bought a mobile home and moved it out here so that everyone, friends and family, could spend family weekends barbecuing, playing, and growing our own vegetables. Mawmaw had terrible varicose veins, but she was determined to help in the ever growing garden. Therefore, my mother had took her to Sears one day and told her that she had to buy at least one pair of pants to protect her legs from the cold and other hazards if she wanted to continue to help them with the garden. After protesting for a while, she finally agreed. The next Saturday we were all outside when out comes Mawmaw in her new pants, which she had slipped on under her old dress. Mom never told her she had to wear pants again.
The last story of the day is my favorite. My Mawmaw was a generous, sweet woman who was determined to help out wherever she happened to be. At least one weekend of the month, my Pawpaw would take off for the weekend to "play cards" for two days. Mawmaw did not stay home alone, so she would come to our house. I loved those weekends because she would stay up late with me to watch television and do just about anything else that I asked her to do. Most of the time Daddy was off working in the oilfield when she would come over for the weekend, but when he was home he was a bit less thrilled about her overnight stays. He loved my Mawmaw to death, but she never let him sleep past 4:30 a.m. By that time of morning, she was already in the kitchen starting lunch or just putting my Mom's pots and pans where she thought that they should have been to begin with. Being the sweetheart he was, he never told her anything about the early morning clanging of pots and slamming of cabinet doors. He would complain to moma, but by the time he got to the kitchen he couldn't help but grin because, without fail, Mawmaw would just look at him and ask as sweetly as possible, "Pourquoi vous lever si tôt?" (Why you up so early?)
A Few Funny Tidbits about Mawmaw:
-She loved to fill out the crossword puzzle in the back of the TV Guide. How did she do it? She would use the answer key in the following week's issue and simply copy the answers.
-She believed that moth balls were necessary to keep away all things creepy crawly. As she grew older, she just kept throwing more and more moth balls into closets, drawers, etc. When she passed away in 1996, I took some of her favorite gowns and other belongings and stored them in one of her suitcases. To this day when I open it, the scent of moth balls takes me back to Mawmaw's house.
-She and my PawPaw had a love/ hate relationship. They argued so much that I think it became their way of showing affection. He loved to complain that she fried her chicken so long that it damn near broke his teeth to eat it. Therefore, when she was really mad at him, she would leave HIS chicken in the grease just long enough to make sure he damn near needed new dentures by the time he finished eating it. He never got home until after we had eaten. When he complained about his chicken yet again, she would just tell him to hush because no one else had complained about it. Of course, he didn't know that OUR chicken was taken out of the grease about ten minutes before his chicken. You could hear him biting into that chicken from across the house.
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