The person that has made the biggest impact on my life was my grandmother, Memaw. When I was 5 years old, I flew from Orlando to Louisiana by myself to spend some time with my grandparents. I do not remember anything about that trip except for one very special day.
The house was modest, my grandfather built it with his own hands. It was a small two bedroom house with a simple fireplace that opened up to my grandparents room and the living room. The front porch screen door had that the "need to be oiled" sound as it opened welcoming friends that came to visit. Remembering the sound of rain as it fell upon the tin roof brings me comfort now, as I make my way to an outdoor covering, just to hear the sound of the rain, because it brings me closer to her memory.
She use to say, "Naney, you know God love you, He told me so Himself, you are a special little girl and he will always look after you." I remember one day during my visit that summer, she took me across the street to the little church my grandpa built by hand including the pews that were used daily by a group of praying women that would gather at the church around two o'clock to pray.
I remember sitting on the pew on the second row, feeling safe, loved and comforted as I watched these women begin to pray. They didn't sit quietly, oh no, they were roaming about the church talking to God as if He were standing on the front line while these women shouted out to him the names of people He needed to visit. They waived their arms with white hankie as their hair piled on top of their heads would begin to come loose from the bobby pins that kept it all together. Memaw and I made our way back across the cattle-gap and into the house, where she sat me in the middle of her big white bed and waived her hankie over me as she sang her song to God in praise for all He was going doing in my life.
Memaw knew more about me and my life than anyone realized. She knew what was coming in my life; she knew because God told her. Throughout my life she was always there, writing me letters when I was little, encouraging me to remain strong; not to look at the things people did that hurt me, but to love with unconditional love the way God loved. She taught me to see the good in everyone, not matter how much they hurt me; she helped me to learn to appreciate the simple joys of life, like walks in the rain, stopping to see a bug climbing on a leaf, noticing the sunset and all the colors it shared.
I came to understand the meaning of this memory with her when I became a mother and now a grandmother. I wanted to be so much like her when I was growing up, I wanted people to know the same lessons she taught me to love and appreciate. I want so much to share these truths with my grandchildren. Memaw left this earth many years ago, but her Spirit lives within me and can never be touched or taken from me. It never bothered me that I did not get her special Bible she always promised me, but I pray that the person that received it, appreciates it as much as she would have wanted them to....I just wish they could have known her like I did. I love you Memaw and miss you deeply, but I still hear you singing and when I am really sad, I can hear your voice saying, "Naney, you know God love you, He told me so Himself."
Happy Birthday, I hope you have a tin roof up there!
I love you, Renee'