Years ago, I went down an old familiar street. I wanted to catch a glimpse of our family home. I was not prepared for an empty lot.
No more dirt trail to a dusty porch. A squeaky door. Fabric scraps and doilies. Crocheted flowerbeds. Everywhere. On the tops of the chairs-red roses.
That dark-eyed girl on the left is my great grandmother Mae James. I don’t remember that face, but those eyes-they haunt me.
I look in that face and see someone who lived a hard life. She buried several children. That alone is enough.
My grandmother Louise was her baby girl and she was spoiled rotten. I always thought it was so funny that she belonged to my Granny James. I considered Granny James as close as you could get to knowing heaven.
She called me Sharon. From the earliest time I can remember to my last walk into the hospital. I didn’t correct her. I loved how she said it.
She made me want to be better. And not just in front of her.
Crystal was kind enough to print her picture this week for me. I framed it tonight.
I wanted to look in that face and try to make her proud. It shames me to think of what she faced and how she was not bitter. I never want to know her pain. But I so admire that sweet spirit.
Her voice was raspy and she replaced goodbye with, “Don’t forget to pray.” My mother did the same. I wonder how many times I was the subject of their prayers and I think of my own children.
I ordered me a pair of crocheted house shoes today.
I thought of them and smiled. Thank you Granny James. I won’t forget.