On Sunday morning, October 6th, my 91 year old grandmother breathed her last breath.
Let me tell ya about this little lady me & my brothers called Ma Ma.
See, my oldest brother Jonathan was the first grandkid. And he was the one who tagged her "Ma Ma." Her husband (our grandfather) was our Pa Pa (not Poppa, but Pah-Pah). They were married in 1946. Then, 17 months after their union my crazy daddy was their firstborn. He was joined by a baby brother 7 years later. And that was their family. A momma, a daddy and two little wild boys.
They were really poor. My dad tells stories about dirt floors in the house, a “straw tick” bed, homemade clothes and putting cardboard in the bottom of his shoes. He even tells of bread sacks tied around their shoes because they couldn't afford rain boots.
Even though they didn’t have a lot of “stuff” my dad says his momma was always able to I M P R O V I S E ! He also says she was quite the marble player. And she taught daddy how to sing and play the guitar.
But the most important thing Ma Ma did was take my daddy to church and talk to him about his soul. When he was really young she’d ask him if he died whether he'd go to Heaven. Many times he says he'd snicker in response. Because he didn’t understand. But one day he did and he felt that tug in his heart we Christians call conviction. He knew he needed Jesus in his heart. And one night at church Ma Ma's brother (Uncle Bill) came and asked Dad if he needed to pray and that night Dad became a Christian.
Fast forward a bit and you'll hear of some rambunctious shenanigans of a teenage boy. Pretty sure my dad (and his brother) were the cause of Ma Ma's gray hair ;-)
But my dad tells a story of one night when he was out really late and when he came home he heard his mom talking. He asked her who she was talking to and she said I was praying. Dad knew why...
Thankfully my daddy came back around to the kind of living his momma taught him about all his life.
Sidebar -- I sure am thankful for that because if God hadn't intervened I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been born. But that's a story for another time.
Dad remembers the conversation he had with Ma Ma when he told her he was going to be a preacher. She cried. She was so proud.
When I was a kid I spent a week every summer at Ma Ma's house while my parents were away at an annual church convention. I didn't spend as much time at Ma Ma's house as my brothers did when we were growin up. But I do have a lot of cool memories with Ma Ma. Going to pick blackberries, playing in the garden, doing seek a word puzzles and watching tv together. She wasn't one for spoiling me. ha
Ma Ma lost the love of her life 29 years ago so she spent a long time as a widow. But she filled her time helping with grandkids and great grandkids and spending lots of time with her sister, who was also her best friend.
She'll be missed, but my goodness who can complain about getting to live 91 years on this earth? Oh, Ma Ma that's who...
a couple years ago I had a conversation with this feisty little woman that went somethin like this -
Ma Ma, how old are you?
Oh wow! Well next year when you turn 90 we'll have to have a party for ya.
I'll probably be dead.
Oh...now don't say that.
Well I don't know why I've lived so long. Nobody oughta live this long. I didn't want to.
And that folks, is just a tiny glimpse into my spunky little grandmother. ha!
At the funeral, my brother joked that if complaining is allowed in Heaven he's pretty sure that Ma Ma went straight to Jesus and said WHAT TOOK SO LONG?
This lady was one of a kind for sure!
Our family is definitely gonna miss her, but one day we'll see her again ... in Heaven... and what a beautiful promise that is!