Maw Maw lived life to its fullest
Published 12:11 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008
By By Adam Prestridge
She was wearing a mauve colored dress with her Sunday school pin on her lapel and the diamond earrings she wore to my wedding. She once told momma that it was her going away dress. She looked peaceful and we all knew she was at peace.
Maw Maw died on a Sunday morning in her sleep. She was 88.
Not until now did I realize how fitting it was that she died on a Sunday, a day she devoted so much of her life to. It did not matter if she was sick or tired, she always made sure she was in her pew at church worshipping. Even when her eyes became blurry with age and she was forced to park her car, she always hitched a ride to church.
She was a woman of strong faith that touched the lives of everyone she encountered. Whether it was her children or grandchildren or someone in line at the grocery store, she touched them all with her quick-witted sense of humor and uncanny ability to tell a joke. She kept jokes and “old” saying tucked away in her memory, even when it began to fail her. Her sister, Louise, always said no one could tell a joke like “Vi.” She could talk to anyone; I believe I got my gift of gab from her.
Maw Maw loved to read the Bible, but growing up I often found her engrossed in a Louis L’Amour western novel and occasionally one written by Zane Grey, who she said had characters with filthy mouths, so she didn’t care for his books. She sat in her rocking chair in front of her window reading for hours, so long that the shine off the wooden floors was rubbed off by her shoes as she rocked and hummed gospel tunes. The marks are still there and hundreds of western novels remain boxed up in her closet, some she had read five and six times.
My grandfather died when I was only 5, but I can still remember that night like it was yesterday. He had been sick for some time after tarring his lungs with cigarettes. He was lying in bed watching the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles the day he died. I was playing Hot Wheels in his room, but went back to the living room to play because I thought he had fallen asleep. My mom asked what my granddad was doing and I told her “sleeping.” She knew then that he had died.
I sat in a blue swivel rocker as the paramedics wheeled him out of the house on a gurney and into the ambulance. From that day forward, my grandmother lived with us.
Most of my mornings during the summer while growing up were spent watching “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The Price is Right” and “CHiPs” with my grandmother. Like clockwork, I would return at 9 a.m. from riding my bike or climbing trees to watch those shows with her. Maw Maw would be waiting for me with a cold glass of sweet tea and a biscuit. Boy, those were the good ‘ole days.
As I grew older, Maw Maw and I remained close. She lived with us, so I always made sure to tell her good morning before heading off to high school and goodnight before going to bed. She was someone I could talk to about anything and she always listened, she did that well.
Time is often taken for granted, but the 23 years spent with Maw Maw was well spent. She was there the first day I started kindergarten and when I graduated from high school. She was at my wedding and had the opportunity to spend time with my son. She was a good grandmother, as most are, and will be truly missed.
When my sister woke me at 3:30 a.m. on July 13 to tell me Maw Maw had died, I did not cry, in fact, a smile came over my face. I knew that she was in a better place, a place she had been looking forward to all her life. She was reunited with her parents, brothers and most of all, her husband. She often talked about how much she missed Herbert and how much she loved him. He was waiting for her that Sunday morning as they were reunited once again.
Until we meet again Maw Maw. Love always, Adam.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.