Saturday, March 13, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #367

Nancy White Kelly

The ides of March have special meaning to me and not just because Julius Caesar was killed on that fifteenth day of the third month in 44 B.C.

In my family there are more birthdays in March than should be legally allowed in a single month. My only sister, eldest grandson and son Charlie have March birthdays. Until his death, we celebrated my father’s birthday on the 31st. All this translates into lots of cards, presents, parties and, yes, money in a period of just four weeks.

Of all those significant March dates, it is the ides that is circled in red. My grandmother, Claudia Lee Smart, and her identical twin sister, Maudie Mae, were born on March 15, in a small Mississippi town following the conclusion of the Civil War. Claudia and Maudie would be 122 years old this year. Claudia played the harmonica and the guitar and Maudie the mandolin. I can still here the harmonious strains of “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.”

Of all my heroes and heroines, my maternal grandmother ranks number one. She was the early widowed mother of five children. Without modern conveniences, she worked hard feeding and clothing her kids. For a few years, during the late forties and early fifties, she lived with my parents which was common then.

Grandma was one of eight children. She lived to be 99 and out-lived her siblings and buried three sons and a daughter. Though she grieved deeply at each passing, Grandma recharged quickly knowing that life goes on for the living.

Grandma had so many good characteristics. Never did I hear her say a foul word. She always looked for the good in people and found something positive to say. Her only alleged vice was to drink a shot of diluted whiskey when she took a cold. Her “hot toddy” she called it.

My grandmother wasn’t one to seek attention. Often her good deeds went unnoticed except by the family. I know of one instance where she gave every penny she had to help a family in need who promised to repay. Though she never got the money back, she wasn’t bitter. Her philosophy was that the Lord would provide for her needs and He did.

Before I could even read, I began accompanying Grandma to church every Sunday. The spiritual became very important to me also. Grandma never taught Sunday school, but because of her persuasive life I have. For more than fifty years I have taught the Bible to hundreds of individuals, young and old. I still teach Sunday school to this day. Grandma deserves the credit for that.

Who would have thought a little woman born in the late 1880’s with a big heart, sweet smile and kind spirit could reap influence in 2010?

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