Monday, November 21, 2005

Mamaw's Table

This photo was taken in 1982 when I visited my grandmother, Mamaw Byrd, also known as Maggie B. It was either at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I am not sure which. I also have some outside shots that reveal the time of year. Ron was also with me, since I have some photos that he took of me there. Anyway, the thing that was so interesting to me about this picture that I came across recently was how so many things on the table brought back vivid memories to me about Mamaw.

Mamaw and I always had a very special relationship. She thought I was terrific and I thought the same about her. She always squealed with delight when I came to visit, whether I was 4 or 40. I used to love spending the night with her and having her all to myself. She and I would lie on her bed and count the pine knot holes in the paneling. My dad and his Dad (Papaw) and his brothers built that house when my dad was just a boy. It was a simple house, but built of quality stuff. Mamaw was the type who always had time for the grandkids. She would go outside with us and help us make play houses and mud pies. She was always around to encourage and give us extra supplies. We used to make play houses out back by raking up pine straw and outlining our "rooms" with it. I spent countless hours with my cousins outside with our imaginations running full steam ahead.

Anyway - back to the table. I am really glad I decided to take those photos that day, because later, when Mamaw was in a nursing home, her house burned to the ground. Everything in it was gone. The table was actually one that Mamaw had given to my mom and dad shortly after they married. Apparently Mama was not interested in having it - maybe it was too old fashioned for her (?). So Mamaw had always told me that she was saving it for me. She told me that my name was taped on the underside, so that when she died it would go to me. (I never looked to confirm that - I just trusted that it was there.) But now it is gone, along with all of her pictures, other furniture and memorabilia.

One of the interesting things about the table is that you can see several things on top of the table that really remind me of her. If you look closely at the picture you will see a part of an egg custard pie there. She always loved egg custard pie - and so do I. I guess I get it from her. Also, you will see a can of Swiss Mocha instant coffee by International Foods. She loved to drink that coffee. Since she lived alone, she didn't bother to make real coffee. She just drank the instant. And for a treat she would have the Swiss Mocha. (And guess what - I have cans of the International Coffee in my cupboard - Cafe Vienna, though.) Nearby, you see a box of chocolate coveried cherries. They were one of her favorites. She loved sweets - although I don't think she ever weighed over 100 lbs. Maybe 110 lbs. in her hay day. She was so slight that she would blow away in a strong wind. Maybe that is one reason she lived to be 94. Plus she was always very active, working outside in her gardens right up until she went into the nursing home. But she had a real sweet tooth - and so did my dad.

Also there is a vase which has Camelias and Camelia bush branches in it, along with a pine cone from out in her yard. She always had living things scattered around in her house - mostly picked from her extensive flower gardens or just things she picked up from wandering around outside. She loved to be outdoors. She had a porch swing that she spent a lot of time in, swinging, reading and enjoying the outdoors and her multitude of cats and dogs.

And last but not least, is her rocking chair. She would sit there on cold winter days in front of her gas heater and tell lots of stories about life. She had lots of young people from around that part of the country who would come and visit her. They wanted to "adopt" her as their grandmother, but she basically poo-pooed that idea, saying that she had plenty of her own grandchildren. (She had 9 of her own.)

Well, it is interesting how much of a story one photograph can tell. I haved enjoyed reminiscing about it and I really don't want the memories to be lost. So here they are for posterity.


Kate said...

Thanks for sharing.

Ryan said...

That's a sweet picture. I'm trying to think of anyway to finance a pressing of my new album with a paper insert. I might use some sort of picture like that. Some kind of nostalgia. I dunno. I might write a slew of songs about rabbits and byrds or something. I'm toying with the idea of "Rabbits, Byrds, and a Croe" for my album name. But I'd need some way of tying all of that together for an album. Probably slash and burn a lot of my songs and write new ones. I was thinking of recruiting Heather Depree for violin and Laura McGinness for piano for the recording. Maybe Mark for some percussion. Keep it generally simple. Anyway, that doesn't have much to do with anything.

Tricia said...

That would be cool. Don't slash and burn your other stuff! Sure you could go ahead and write new ones. But the old ones are good too. Maybe they don't all go on the same album? But don't just trash them. Even though you are tired of a lot of them, they are still good.