Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Southern Way

Southern Women are an interesting breed. Through the generations, we have evolved, but a few things remain the same. For example, when tragedy strikes, we give it a coronary embolism with baked goods and if that doesn't work, we suffocate it with Lysol.

My grandmother (I called her Fanny) passed away today at 12:09 am. A Southern Lady who was determined to die on the Lord's Day. My mother and her sisters rushed to my grandmother's side on Thursday. While I am sad, I mainly feel relief that she is no longer suffering. Yet, since Thursday, my Southern roots have been glowing along with the shiny mopped floors. (I even scrubbed the base boards.)

I also baked a cake for the church's pot luck lunch and dropped it off yesterday...just another one of my Southern traits coming out. Southern Women keep their promises, especially if it is a promise to a church. No one is going to say "Bless her heart!" about this Southern girl!

In my manic state, I got the ingenious idea of trying something new; I was going to make a roll cake. I am not sure why. Roll cakes are normally associated with Christmas and Yule Log cakes, and my mind has been wondering back to Christmas a lot.

Christmas was always a large affair at my grandmother's house. She has the formal living room where the tree was, and my cousin Missy would play the Chipmunk's Christmas Song on the piano. Cousin Ryan is a TALL man and when the three grandkids got in front of the tree for a picture, the angel looked as if she had sprouted from his head.

I now have my grandmother's tree. She once had a fat Christmas tree, but around the time when I was in middle school, she replaced the tree with a more fashionable skinny tree. As a child, I hated--loathed even-- that tree. It looked silly and lost in her large formal living room. When the cousins stood in front of the tree for the annual Christmas picture, the tree was completely hidden. The angel became almost a blessing from God; magical suspended in air with a sweet porcelain face offering a blessing to these tree-less cousins. When my grandmother and grandfather moved to a nursing home, my aunts and mother bequeathed the skinny tree to me. Fanny was delighted that one of her grandkids was going to use her beloved tree. Me? I found humor in the situation but couldn't believe I would have to use the ugly tree! Yet, the first year I unpacked that tree (around 2005), I saw the love Grandpa had for Fanny. As branches started to fall off, he carefully whittled down pencils to make replacement pegs. Christmas 2010 was rough on the tree; Mona the cat ate through the weakened metal and ran off with a whole branch. Yet, Christmas 2011 will see that tree with dropping branches held on by pencils, and as I hang the ornaments on the tree with my husband, I can only hope that will have the same love for each other as my grandparents had for each other.  I hope that we have pencil years: years that are spent working together on making something last through the ages.


Jdaniels said...

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, but I completely understand your relief that she's no longer suffering. My grandmother passed away after a 6 year battle with cancer - and as much as I miss her, I'm so glad that she does not have to suffer through chemo anymore!

My prayers go out to you and your family!

Erin M. said...

Oh dude, I'm sorry to hear about your ma Fanny. I think you've taken it well by thinking of her memory.

Thinking of you...

Fool in a Tree said...

Thank you so much Jdaniels. It is nice to know that people are willing to pray for those they really don't know.

Fool in a Tree said...

Thank you Erin! You are a great friend!!

MJ said...

Oh Carrie. What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. How proud of you she was...and is. xo MJ