Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What goes around...

Today was another beautiful, sunny day here in the mountains.  The kids and I went outside to enjoy the warmth.  I was working on laying out the garden we are hoping to plant soon.  While I was shoveling away, I heard the sweetest sound.  Cecely and Titus were laughing uncontrollably.  I stopped working to watch them.  Cecely was pushing and Titus was pulling their wagon up the hill in our front yard.  They loaded up, Titus in the front and Cecely in the back.  Titus was holding the handle and Cecely put her hands on the ground and shoved off.  The kids in their green wagon zoomed down the hill.  It was so funny to watch, and they were having a great time.

When I was younger, my siblings and I used to do the same thing.  GrandBonnie lived across the road from us.  She had a steep hill that led from her house to the land she owned below.  I distinctly remember the 4 of us making that ride in our red wagon.  Usually Tyler and I would load up, then Andrea and Timothy.  GrandBonnie had cushions from an old couch, and we would lay them down on the ground and literally crash into them.  I remember it being the scariest, most thrilling, and probably the dumbest thing we did.  But, we had a blast, and it definitely left an impression on my mind.

I look at Cecely and Titus and wander what other crazy things they will do that my brothers and sister and I did.  We used to play for hours outside.  We would use wooden pallets that our Daddy had saved for some reason.  We would "build" with them and pretend we were everyone from the Boxcar Children living in a train to the Vanderbilts living in the Biltmore House.  We would ride bikes all over our yard and up and down the road.  We would play kickball and softball in the front yard.  Oh, and we would run and swing like crazy on the "Rodo-rider" which was this INSANE contraption a man from our church helped our Daddy build.  This think was basically metal pipes with 4 tire swings hanging from it...kind of like a propeller, but concreted into the ground.  We would take turns and 2 of us would run, while the other 2 swung around.  Again, crazy but so much fun!

I hope that Cecely and Titus are able to stand the test of time.  My siblings and I grew up spending so much time playing together.  Even as we were older, we would go to movies together, play board games for hours, and just have fun being together.  Of course, time has changed our lives.  The 4 of us are spread all over the place and live very different lives.  We aren't able to spend time together.  At times, it is hard to even stay in communication with each other.  Regardless of how our lives are now, I will forever cherish the memories the 4 of us made.  I will hope that one day, the 4 of us are able to spend time together again.  And, I pray that my children will not let the stresses of life and the changing of relationships tear apart their relationship.

Right now, Cecely and Titus are the best of friends...and I am going to enjoy every moment of that!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Remembering GrandBonnie...

My GrandBonnie was one of my heroes.  I have a treasure trove of wonderful memories of her.  She passed away three years ago from multiple-myeloma cancer.  I have spent countless hours grieving her loss, but celebrating the fact that she is in Heaven and no longer has pain.

As far back as I can remember, my GrandBonnie was an active part of my life.  I remember going to her house after school and playing for hours on end in her yard.  She had a tire swing on a big tree.  She always had snacks for my siblings and me...and I mean, the good stuff.  She had Nutty Buddy bars, fried apple pies, and ice cream sandwiches ready for our greedy little fingers and mouths.  GrandBonnie came to every school play, every recital, every church event...anything that we were a part of.  While she didn't vocalize it, she showed us that she was one of our biggest fans.                                                                                  
GrandBonnie was a fantastic cook.  She was of the good-old-fashioned school of cooking.  She used butter in everything...this was pre-Paula Deen, mind you.  Her biscuits literally melted when they hit the tongue.  Her pot roast cast an aroma that could be taste before entering the house.  At Christmas, she made the best treat of chocolate gravy to put on our biscuits.  I am thankful that GrandBonnie took the time to teach me to cook.  Every time I fix a roast, I get misty-eyed thinking of her.

GrandBonnie always had the most incredible flower beds.  Regardless of the season, there was always something in bloom.  Her gardens overflowed with azaleas, rhododendron, snapdragons, johnny-jump-ups, and clematis, to name a few.  There was nothing my GrandBonnie couldn't grow.  I'm not to that level yet in the yard, but I am striving very hard to keep that legacy going.

My GrandBonnie was a remarkable seamstress.  She altered all of my prom and homecoming gowns.  She made my spring formal dress for college.  I remember picking out the pattern and the material.  I loved that dress...she told me it was ugly.  She made my wedding dress.  It was exactly what I had dreamed of.  She also helped my Mama and me plan and put together my wedding.  GrandBonnie was an artist with scissors, material, and a sewing machine.  Sadly, I did not inherit that gift from her...I sure wish I had.  When I was younger, GrandBonnie would take my sister, Andrea, and me to work with her at Weddings Beautiful, the bridal salon where she did the alterations on gowns galore.  She would let us walk to the neighboring drug store to buy candy.  We would get to try on gowns, make signs for sales, and organize dresses for clients.  At lunch, she would take us to Burger King...we would get to order a Whopper Jr. and a milkshake...this was a big treat for us.

GrandBonnie was fearless.  We lived in a wooded area, and often had to deal with mice, opossums, snakes, raccoons, etc.  No living thing ruffled her feathers.  I can remember times where she chased opossums out of the garage, had me and my siblings round up mice in the kitchen, and can vividly remember her chopping off the heads of several snakes (which was fine by me...I hate snakes).  I remember when she was diagnosed with cancer.  She faced that without fear.  At every doctor appointment and treatment, she would ask insightful questions.  In the midst of the reality of facing death, she was the portrait of grace.

I remember when GrandBonnie was sick.  Thankfully, my family was able to move back to live closer to her.  I would spend mornings with her watching HGTV.  She would complain when "craft" shows came on...what was the sense in making things that would just sit around?  But, she loved gardening shows and remodeling projects.  As she became more sick, we would sit in silence.  The TV would give her a headache.  She stopped cooking, and wasn't able to eat.  I remember helping her pack when it was time to go to the hospital.  I often wonder if she knew it was her last trip when she was packing her favorite nightgowns and pillow with the pink satin case.  I count it pure joy that I was able to spend her last days with her.  I am thankful that I was able to sing hymns to her and hold her hand.  I remember the heartache I felt when she looked at me and told me she didn't know who I was.  That didn't stop me from wanting to be at her side nonstop.

My GrandBonnie was an amazing woman.  She taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, and showing grace in the most unlikely situations.  She was and is my role model.  It's funny, because now I catch myself saying things that GrandBonnie would say.  The other day, I told my friend not to throw out a container from BoJangles, because we could wash it out and use it again.  I spent the entire day out in the yard weeding my flower beds, moving rocks, arranging porch furniture, etc.  When I do those things, I feel close to my wonderful GrandBonnie. 

GrandBonnie did not spout off words of affection.  She did not shower me in hugs and kisses.  But, the all of the work she did for me, all the time she invested in me made me feel more loved than a hundred hugs.  The life lessons she instilled in me are priceless.