My Mamaw

I loved my Mamaw so much. She was such a big part of my life. I’m so grateful I got to spend so much time at her house when I was a kid (thank you, Mom, for taking us!), and that my children got to be with her over these last 10 years.

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I remember when I was expecting Madilyn. Papaw would email me about how excited he was to meet her. They held up a picture of her when he was in the hospital. He would have loved both the girls so much.

What a gift to have Mamaw for as long as we did. I watched Mom and her siblings dutifully care for her as long as they could, and so did many others like Cathy Ball, who Mom calls an earth angel.

Everyone loved my Mamaw. She claimed so many as her own that I’m not sure who all I’m actually related to! She made everyone feel so special. But you knew you were one of the favorites if your picture was regularly featured on her fridge.

Summers and school breaks were always spent at Mamaw’s house. I treasured those evening games of Yahtzee when she would erupt in an enthusiastic “Oh! I Yahtzeed all over myself!” – and we would crack up laughing.

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Holidays were filled with family and food. But no matter what time of year it was, if you stepped foot in her house, you were offered something to eat. No one left Mamaw’s house hungry. In fact, you probably left with a covered dish and a bag of cookies.

She grew up in a different era, one in which you broke beans, shucked corn, and canned anything that would fit in a mason jar. But she gladly converted to canned biscuits. She cleaned constantly and never let anything go to waste. She worked circles around all of us. I don’t know how she had that much energy.

She wasn’t afraid of much of anything from what I could tell. I never forget the day she whacked a big blue racer snake in half with a hoe in the yard where we were playing.

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She was tough as nails but always put together. She looked her best wherever she went, but especially for church, with her amazing collection of shoes, suits, pins, purses and of course, wigs.

I’ll never forget the day she took a spill down the stairs at home, and I called 911. She had a concussion and needed to be taken to the hospital to be checked out, but she absolutely refused to budge an inch until her wig was brought to her and put on properly. And what she said went.

She gave me two pieces of advice as a teenager: one was to never pay retail and the other was about boys. “Like them all,” she said. “I did!”

Of course, Papaw was her sweetheart. They married so young! And had mom when she was only 17. She served him his entire life. I’ll never forget how she waited on him hand and foot it seemed! She even packed his suitcases.

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She was royal. I always felt such pride in being her granddaughter. I always will. She carried herself with the authority of someone who knew she was the daughter of a king.

Jesus was her lifelong companion. She would talk to him like he was in the room with her.

Whenever we left her house to head home, she sent angels to travel on all sides of our car. And to this day, I’ve never known anyone to say, “Now, Lord, you know we need a good parking place,” and have a spot open right up.

Anyone who knows my grandmother would describe her as a worshipper and a prayer warrior. She prayed with such fervor and compassion. She just cared so much. If you needed prayer, you knew to call Mamaw Lou. Praying was the only thing she could still do when her mind and body began to fail.

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I can’t imagine a world without my Mamaw in it. But she gave us so much. So much love. We loved her because of the love she heaped upon us–bushels and bushels, as she would say.

Love is her legacy.