Each visit home brings new revelations about my grandmother’s life. She is not perfect but she is my beloved. Each visit gives more insight into who I am and my personality, the many lives my grandmother has impacted, the power of love, and the grace of God. Each visit leaves me humbled and grateful for the smaller things in life.
My holiday visit was my most recent trip. I did not tell my grandmother when I was coming, only that I was coming. I have learned that giving a specific date leads to disappointments for both of us. My schedule is that of a mad woman and no matter how I try to be specific about dates or times, life interrupts. But when I say I am coming, she knows, rain or shine, snow or ice, I am going to make my way to Mississippi.
For Christmas 2012, I made it hours shy of Christmas Day. But I came in full Ms. Santa’s gear. I sneaked into town and drove straight to the nursing home where she resides. After getting buzzed in, I winked at the nurses who were all smiles (and probably all kinfolks in one way or another) when they saw me. I knew she would be up watching TV. I put down my bags of goodies for her and the other residents of the home and I walked up behind her.
In her ear, I whispered, “What’s up chic?” Her tears started flowing almost immediately as she turned to look up at me. Upon hearing my voice, my grandmother said, “My baby is home. Yes, my baby is home.” My tears started too. We carry own like this every time we see each other.
After giving me a head to toe inspection, she said, “You look good, too.” She then touched my Santa suit and the pearls she gave me years ago and started talking nonstop. Soon our roles of grandmother and granddaughter, flesh of her flesh, meshed into two hens without a care in the world. Time seemed to stand still as we picked up where we left off. We seemed joined at the hip in thought and speech. I had to stop our conversation because I realized everyone was watching us.
I gathered her things and off to her room we rolled to finish our conversation. For the rest of the day, we caught up on all things in my little home town, and I shared about life in Nashville. The more we talked, the louder we laughed, and the more folks came to her door to make sure we were okay.
|My grandmother reading a copy of Mocha Market|
At some point, I had to pull myself away. My grandmother was in good spirits, and it showed. I finally managed to make my way to Stringer Drive to my parents’ home.
Once there, I unpacked and exchanged gifts with my mom and dad. My grandmother’s well-being was on everyone’s mind. I encouraged them by telling them how good my grandmother looked; the hard work of the family was obvious. My evening was spent catching up on the holistic welfare of my grandmother.
Later, I got busy around my mom’s cooking and planning a New Year Eve’s bash for my grandmother and the other residents of the nursing home. My head was racing with ideas. I brought party items from Nashville, but I still needed to go to town (Natchez, MS) to get a few more items. Immediately I thought about Nashville and for a brief moment, I wanted to be Jasmine with a magic carpet. The next day, I managed to make it to Natchez, shop for items, and get back to Fayette in less than two hours. Whew!
On New Year’s Eve, my grandmother and I had the grandest time. There were many at the party, but we were having our own party. Decked out in her 2013 top hat and jewelry, she laughed and blew her horns. She wore “sparkly” nails that told you she was in a festive move. The dining hall was beautifully decorated. We popped the bubbly, sparkling grape juice, and the staffed toasted every good deed EVER done! Most laughed like no tomorrow while one of the residents, Slater, danced the time away! I soaked up the sight of my grandmother having so much fun.
|Slater Dancing like it is 1999!|
Seeing the billboard reminded me of New Year’s Eve 2011 at Vicksburg’s Mercy Hospital. My grandmother was hospitalized after being very ill for weeks. In 2011, I spent the holidays with my grandmother in the hospital. We laughed but not nearly as much. We cried, too, but my tears that year were of sadness from watching her struggle to live. I prayed daily that her body would be without the drips, needles, nurses, doctors, and pills for a pill. And this Christmas 2012, she was doing just fine.
|New Year's Eve 2011|
|Christmas Day 2011|
|New Year's Eve 2012|
|New Year's Eve 2012|
Oh my, I serve a mighty good God!