My sweet memories of a good woman

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

For times such as these, writing can be very cathartic for me.
My Maw Maw passed away this weekend. As soon as I heard the news at four in the morning, I laid back down and my mind began filling with the memories I shared with her.
I’m the eldest granddaughter and, when I was born, she was still raising a few of her 14 children.
She was a busy woman then and as the years passed, more than 45 grand and great-grandchildren were born into the family.
During my youth, I spent many a weekend at their home on Chartres Street in Bay St. Louis. It was during that time that I developed a love for classic movies, for my Maw Maw enjoyed watching anything with Cary Grant, James Garner, Gene Kelly and many more.
I would look for these types of movies when I went shopping and couldn’t wait to tell her about it so that I could bring it with me the next time I was at her house.
A very vivid memory for me was the Saturday we spent watching an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon on the American Movie Classics channel. I was terrified when we watched “The Birds,” which she found humorous.
She often took my sister, Ashleigh, and I crabbing and fishing on the seawall. One time, one of us caught an eel, and with little to no effort, Maw Maw unhooked him and threw him back in the water. I was amazed at her bravery.
She was an amazing cook. One of my favorite dishes was her potato salad. My ultimate favorite was her ground meat dressing, which she made during the holidays. It was so delicious and she would always point it out to me when we arrived for dinner, because she knew how much I loved it.
Maw Maw was a private person and in the early mornings, she would drive us to our local grocery store to shop, because she knew there wouldn’t be many people there that early in the morning.
She loved redecorating her home and I lost count a long time ago of the exact number of shades of paint she put on the walls.
If she knew someone was coming to visit, she would make sure to straighten up, although it was never unkempt. But one time, I forgot to let her know I was bringing my friend with me and I still remember the looks she gave me.
There are many more wonderful memories, but my most favorite happened in May of 2005. That was the year I graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelors. Both Maw Maw and Paw Paw rode in a car for 12-hours round-trip to be with me on my special day. This was a rare occurrence, for in their later years, they rarely left Bay St. Louis.
I was proud to receive my degree, but even prouder to know that they were in the audience that day watching as I walked across the stage to receive my degree.
A few months later, we survived Hurricane Katrina together. I lost my possessions that day and thought I had lost my pictures of my graduation. But months later, I found them in my uncle’s cabinet of all places, I still don’t know how they got there.
I now have those pictures of myself and my grandparents to commemorate one of my greatest accomplishments and their presence there that day.
She was a good woman, the type that comes along once in a lifetime. She worked hard to raise her family and loved each and every one, despite many shortcomings.
As I close, always remember to create special memories with your loved ones. We are not granted tomorrow. For it’s not important who is there in the hour of their death, what’s important is how we treat them during their life here on this Earth.

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