This was written in 2015- so my grandma would have been 101 today!
Southern girls can learn a lot from their grandmas. Today would have been my grandma’s or as we called her, ma’am maw Kennedy’s 98 birthday if she were alive. And how I wish she were.
My family and I moved to Opelika, Alabama, at the beginning of my third grade year, which was two and half hours away from Birmingham where my ma’am maw and granddaddy lived. Right after we moved my grandparents moved to Blount County, Alabama, Highland Lake area to live full time on the lake. Up until that time and when we stilled lived in Birmingham, my ma’am maw would take my sister and me to dancing school and she would sit and wait on us until our classes were over. Dancing she felt was something we needed to learn and we loved it. After we moved, of course, taking me to dance class was not an option for her and it was something I missed.
Being so far away mean that I would only get to see her at Thanksgiving and Christmas and summer breaks. Those summer breaks spent with my grandparents on the lake were something I looked forward to every year. We waterskied and swam, and soaked in the sun. When I was old enough I began getting up early with my ma’am maw (5:30 or 6:00 am) and would sit at the dining room table with her while she smoked and drank a six ounce bottle of Coca-Cola; after awhile, the cigarettes went away and the cokes were replaced with ice water.. I would listen to her stories about growing up and she would share her wisdom about life. I learned a lot from those early morning sessions and I probably picked up some of her wisdom. After the coke and conversation, she would go into the kitchen and roll biscuits to bake and cook me, my sister and cousins scrambled eggs and sausage.
Later in the morning we would swim and sunbathe until lunch after lunch, my ma’am maw would have us shell butterbeans or purple hull peas while her stories (soap operas) were on. Those beans would be for dinner after which, we all would go waterskiing. The next day this routine would start all over again and would last until Labor Day.
I loved the time I spent with her. She taught me tenacity, told stories about my dad and uncles, and would always give me advice about boys. One of her most famous lines about boys was “In my day, guys were like buses, one came by the corner every few minutes. So stop worrying about them.” And for the most part I took her advice. I miss those sessions with her and especially her advice she so lovingly gave. She died suddenly May 24, 1987, four days before my birthday. Even though time has passed, I still miss those early morning conversations and the advice she would give me.
To this day, I can vividly recall our early southern summer mornings, drinking coca-colas and talking about life.