Thursday, August 13, 2009

My role models

I have not been a very good blogger lately. I've been off work since May 14, and go back on August 21. I have spent the summer learning how to garden, can, and preserve various foods. As of right now, I have 32 quarts of home canned dill pickles, 37 quarts of green beans, 4 quarts of tomatoes, and a few peaches, pears, and jellies (Strawberry and blackberry). In the freezer, I have 6 gallons of freezer pickles, 12 quarts of corn off the cob, plus about 2 dozen ears of corn on the cob. It has been very interesting work. I also got to spend quite a bit of time with my grandmother this summer. I'm usually so busy with work and being a mom that I don't get to visit Mamaw very often.

Two weeks ago, Mamaw's sister, my great aunt, passed away. She was 81 years old and had had a car wreck at the beginning of July. This lady was truly my Christian role model.

My role model did not wear a size two, nor has she traveled the world over. She was not famous, but everyone who knew her loved her very much. At 81 years old, she still mowed her own yard, about a 2 acre lot. It was only within the last 5 years or so that she finally allowed her son to buy her a riding lawn mower. Prior to that, she would faithfully fire up the push mower once a week, mowing the front yard in the early morning and the back yard at dusk, since her husband's death in the early 1980's.

She remained faithful to her husband, even though he was an alcoholic, who occasionally became violent when he drank. When asked why she stayed, she simply smiled and said, "You just did things different back then. WHen things got tough in a marriage, you stuck it out. Not like today, when people get divorced for leaving towels on the floor.

She had only one son, and three grandchildren. Her family is small, but she "adopted" every person near her. She worked odd jobs, occassionaly in a sewing factory, or babysitting, or stripping tobacco, doing what was necessary when it was necessary. She raised and slaughtered pigs, cows, and chickens. She kept a large garden even when she was living alone. No one ever left her house hungry, and she made sure you always had leftovers to take with you, as well.

Her car was old, and her furniture was not the newest styles, but everything was beautifully maintained and taken care of. The pictures on the wall were paintings from the seventies and eighties, interspersed with framed family portraits. My favorite photograph in her house was her wedding portrait: her husband looking dapper in his Navy uniform, and her with her hair curled, her best hat, and a new dress that she had sewn herself on on her treadle sewing machine from a light cotton print.

Her funeral was a wonderful celebration of her life. She had picked out the outfit she wanted to buried in, next to her husband. Her church was a primitive Baptist congregation, where she loved to go every Sunday to worship God. There were no pianos, guitars, or drums in the building. The only music is a wide range of voices. The pastor who spoke at her funeral had been her pastor for many years.
I can only hope to be half as amazing as my great aunt was.

1 comment:

Clare said...

A very lovely tribute!