My Dad would pick us up from there every day when he was done with work at the school, coaxing us from hiding behind the sofa, pretending to miss the bottles his mother-in-law let his young girls have. The farm behind her house was a magical land full of barns and kittens, explored from the back of Ebbie's truck on Sunday evenings. At the end of every week, the phone rings at each family member's house hold "Supper's Readyyyyy!" summoning aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren, young and old, to gather 'round the kitchen and dining room tables, passing mashed potatoes and struggling to talk over one another. When I packed my red wagon up and was determined to run away, I headed down the beaten path through the woods to my MommaLou's house. She never complained when we used her freshly laundered bedsheets for our elaborate forts, held high by the wind of a floor fan. Perched in the wingback chair, legs dangling over arm's edge, she brought me banana and mayonnaise sanwhich's, crust removed, while I watched muppet babies. Only ever changing the channel at 1pm to watch her "stories". Scurrying in her night coat, nervously waving her hand in front of her face, she always proclaims "Oh lord, I don't have my teeth in!" whenever a visitor comes around, even if she does look radiant. Kindly she stands at her kitchen door, waving you off as you leave, requesting "come back and see me soon!", still in her night coat. Energetic and full of humor, my grandmother knows how to take a joke, and certainly knows how to lay one out, from my Mother's help cooking dinner to my ripped up jeans, she's got a wise crack for ya', and loves when you have one right back. A lover of life and possibly an even larger lover of fashion, she is the one who, will shopping my mother out at the mall, found me my original wedding necklace. Covered in rhinestones and hefty gold, she fell in love and knew it "looked like Ashley". An old fuddy-dud my MommaLou is NOT! And through her incredibly generous heart, today I wear her gold wedding band, a wedding present that, when I asked if I could wear it, she exclaimed "I'd be honored if you did!". My MommaLou, mother of 9 children, grandmother and great grandmother to many more of us, celebrated her 94th birthday yesterday and is undergoing surgery for a brain tumor today. Lucy Hanes, lover of Talbotts, window curtains, garden flowers, lottery tickets (ha ha, just kidding), 60 minutes, good conversation, her family, and above all things, her grand life, told her Doctor yesterday that she is known to be a "tough cookie". And that she is. So here's to my grandmother's strong will, love, courage, and faith! And to more glorious years of making jokes around her kitchen table on Sunday afternoons. I wish I could be there, but she's got the support and spirits of the entire Hanes family by her side. But a little prayer never hurts.
Photo from last Christmas thanks to the incredibly talented Rebecca Tabor Armstrong! Doesn't MommaLou look so pretty? What's her secret at 93?!?! I need to ask!