Computer is still on the fritz. It’s gasping for breath. Locks up every few minutes. This means that I’m only able to sneak the odd moment on husband’s computer when he’s not on it, working, or when the kids aren’t on it doing their school stuff.
And THAT means that I’ve not yet finished making match ups for the book swap. Soon friends. Soon. I promise. You might as well know that I’m never, EVER on time for anything. Ever. I try, I really do, but it’s best you dispense with any thoughts of promptness, where I’m concerned. Just assume that I’ll be late, and then, on the rare occasion that I manage to be on time or (shutter to think it), early, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I’m not proud. I’m just realistic.
Anyhow. As if the computer issues weren’t bad enough, my sweet oldest boy woke me up at 4 AM yesterday with a raging fever. Meds would not bring it down, and then the doctor gave the words I feared would come: “It’s strep.”
That, after a hideous assault on the poor boy with a 3 foot long Q-tip. He gave that doctor a run for her money thought. He was not opening that mouth of his. When she finally managed it, he threw up blackberry smoothie all over creation.
Before all that though, in the wee hours before dawn, snuggling my burning boy, I thought, for the thousandth time, of something my grandmother told me during our recent visit. It was apropos of nothing, but thats how you think in the dark morning hours… all floaty and deep-like.
The story in question came from my Granny after I’d prodded her with “tell me about”s until she finally settled into story telling mode. She talked about how an African American woman, Seeley, used to come help out with various things. like their wash. She’d carry the loads of clothes to a “spring down in the hollow” and boil a big pot of water, which she would use to scrub and rinse their clothes. My granny talked about how, as a little girl, she had watched Seeley, and marveled at how big and strong her arms seemed, wringing every last drop of water out of their wash.
Granny said that she used to love to hear her mother (my Momo) and Seeley laugh and talk and work together. She said they were great friends and would cut up, gossip, sing, and joke while their hands flew and their backs bent over their work.
The thing is though, Seeley never came in the house. In fact, at dinner time (lunch), my Momo would take both her lunch and Seeley’s lunch outside to eat. Together.
Granny said that Seeley never ate in the house.
So there I lay wondering. Why? Did my Momo not invite her in because she was black? I find that really hard to believe, especially, considering how close my Granny says they were. And, my great grandmother is pretty notorious for not caring one wit about anyone’s opinion but her own. So, it’s not real likely she would have “done the proper thing”.
Maybe she invited Seeley in, but the woman wasn’t comfortable with straying from the social laws of the day? Maybe my Momo never asked because she didn’t want to force Seeley to make an uncomfortable choice? Maybe, maybe they just liked to eat together under the pine trees. I don’t know. I try to imagine my Momo dishing up plates of food and carrying them outside to sit and chat with Seeley. What was going through her mind? I guess I’ll never know for sure.
I do know this. My Momo was a strong and good woman. She was tough and took no nonsense. She was full of laughter and spunk. I know enough of her to know that she would have been a good friend.
I don’t mean to gloss over her failings. She was human. What I mean to say, is that I know she did the best she could with what she had. So, I believe that taking her dinner with Seeley was her way of saying that she was no better than anyone else.
I’m hoping that one day, when my sons, my grand children and my great grandchildren are looking back on my life and my choices, that they will offer me the same grace. When something doesn’t add up, or rubs the wrong way, when the pieces just won’t fit together, I hope that they will have known me well enough, that I will have lived in such a way, that they can trust that my intentions, even in my failings, were good.
I hope too that wherever Seeley’s family is, they know that her sweet nature is still being talked about, even today.
I hope that she and my Momo are finally getting to put their feet up, laugh and swap stories to their hearts’ content.