Today would have been my Mamaw Bea's 86th birthday. Now, I'm not one of those people who remembers the birthday of everyone I've ever known who's ever passed away. I do have a few exceptions, though. Plus, I want to tell my children about their Mamaw Bea one day, and sometimes, over time, the little things leave your mind.
I'm pretty sure I got my love of food from my Mamaw (a blessing and a curse!). A lot of my memories of her include food. When I was little, my favorite snack at her house was apple slices, sliced cheese, and Tang. She would take us for chicken little sandwiches at KFC (remember those?!). She baked amazing banana nut bread and made the best fudge ever! On Christmas Eve, we always had a huge breakfast spread at her house--biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, eggs, jellies, jams, and every kind of sweet you can imagine. She also made the best soup beans (with a hunk of fatback), cornbread, and fried taters. Mmmm!
Mamaw was a character. She loved to talk--about Southern Gospel music, angels (of which she had a HUGE collection), Jesus.....actually about anything. She also liked to argue and was fun to get riled up. My aunts used to compete to see who could get her the most hyped up. She never met a stranger and wanted everyone to call her Mom.
One of the most amazing things about Mamaw is that she only went to school until 6th grade, but she was a gifted writer and poet and one of her favorite things to do was read. She had an enormous collection of books (she belonged to a lot of book clubs) and she wanted us to love books, too. I have many, many books from her and she wrote long messages in the fronts of all of them, which makes them all the more special.
She liked to shop and dance and wear nice clothes. And collect things. She could sniff out a Goodwill anywhere. She gave me my first copy of "Little Women" (one of my favorite books EVER). She liked to get takeout Chinese. If she had ever had a cell phone, she would have run the bill out the roof. The first thing she wanted you to know about her is that she loved God. She was fearless and bold. She loved Michael like another grandson, but she always told him that if he hurt me, she would tear him apart--and she would have! She was so multi-faceted.
We miss her, but in a non-cliche way, I know she's in a better place. I'm sure heaven is getting a kick out of her. We love you, Mamaw! Happy Birthday!