My Grandmother was born in rural Rafting Creek, South Carolina (today known as Sumter). A twin and one of the youngest of 11 siblings…she was a powerhouse in my life. She raised 9 children after her husband, my grandfather passed at an early age and continued to support her grandchildren and great-grandchildren until her death. When I say powerhouse…you may think she was like me but I feel like our personalities could not have been more different.
She was very quiet and soft spoken. Her eyes, a pretty grayish blue did the talking more than her mouth ever could. She was tall 5’11 and much taller than my Grandfather but her size never looked imposing. Rather to me was a tiny old lady. I rarely saw her angry and she didn’t let too much bother her when people raised their voices at her or spoke down on her name. In everything she did, it was done in love. Her kindness always did the talking. I have tried my whole life to do that, let my kindness do the talking but I feel as if too much of my Grandfather is in me. Make me mad and I’ll get to cussing!
My grandmother has been gone 21 years now and while I was just a child when she passed, she has always been there with me, every step of my journey. In memory, love, and speech. Here are a few things she used to say and to this day our family still speaks life into the world with her memories.
“Charity begins at home”
You should always take care of your family, friends, and community first.
It’s not from the bible but many people think it is. What the bible says is anyone who doesn’t take care of their family is no better than a nonbeliever. (I’m paraphrasing I don’t church it up much). This is a kinder way to say, take care of those around you, your unit, your circle, your family blood, and not. It’s the basis of most of the work I do.
“You done took the rag off the bush” / “You done run out”
You have really outdone yourself this time! (In a bad way)
Sometimes my Grandmother was left so incredulous at the things we did, all she could do was exclaim her shock and remind us of how much we were wilding out. She raised 5 boys, my uncles, and from the stories and knowing them myself, I know that phrase had to do Lebron numbers around the house. All of the older folks from home still say this, and while it’s not a lot of them left, they can guarantee I will keep this alive (with the southern accent as well).
“Feed em with a long handled spoon”
Respect and forgive those who have wronged you but keep them far away
There is the religious Allegory of the long spoons but this is not what it is in reference to. In the Allegory of the long spoons, people feed each other and they all thrive and prosper in heaven. In hell, they are selfish and refuse to help feed on another, as a result they all suffer. While I like the religious story, this one is a little more of a warning.
If someone has done wrong to you in the past, you should forgive them, and you should respect them, but you should be aware of them. Treat them well from afar. Do not let them get in a position to hurt you again. You do this by feeding them (respecting them) with a long handled spoon (far away enough so they don’t bite you).
“Alright, nie gal!”
There are many more that she used that I want to collect in a book one day. She was such a wonderful lady and I miss the way she spoke. Every time my life is undergoing a major change I dream about her. I still remember her voice, the sound her feet made when she walked, and even her smell. She has been heavy on my mind lately. I wonder what major life change is about to happen now?