Ninety One and Counting…

Tuesday was a very long day. I took my grandmother to the house where she grew up in Jonesville, TX, then the house where she raised her children in Longview, TX, and finally the house where she lived for most of my life. We visited her parents’, grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ burial plots. We took tons of photos together, but these are two of the best of her.

We stayed up until 2AM talking and cutting her toenails, which had grown 3/4 of an inch long because she can’t reach them anymore and she won’t ask anybody to cut them. We ate cinnamon rolls from The Butcher Shoppe for breakfast, and left the raw oysters aside for a hunk of cheese from the old T.C. Lindsey Store. We drank coffee, and cokes, and ate cookies. We took two naps and talked about my daddy — who killed himself with alcohol — and my uncle, who killed himself with a butcher knife. We cried and complained. We hugged and when I left, I kissed her on the forehead with my standard greeting/farewell.

My grandmother has two children remaining of four. On her 91st birthday she only heard from her daughter. Her oldest son is living in a nursing home. She has eight grandchildren. She only heard from one. She has a few friends left, all of whom sent birthday blessings via telephone, card, or personal visit.

She told me that she gets lonely. She doesn’t hear very well anymore. Her eyesight is still amazingly clear, and she’s never had a cataract. She still listens to the police scanner all night long, though she doesn’t have to worry anymore that her sons’ names will be mentioned among the various inebriates arrested on any given evening in Gregg County, Texas.

In the last two years, I haven’t gone to see her as much because life has crowded the visits out of my schedule. This week, I’ve been reminded how much she means to me, and I’ll be going more often. I don’t know how long I’ll have her, but I don’t want to miss times like I had this week celebrating her birthday.

Yes. I love my grandma.

Grandma Ruth 2

Grandma Ruth

5 thoughts on “Ninety One and Counting…

  1. The sepia tone was a nice effect. What a grand lady, I’m sure. I’m glad that you got to spend some time with her.

  2. Ben,

    She is beautiful!

    My wife is from Longview and we both went to ETBU in nearby Marshall (82-86′). The cinnamon rolls from The Butcher Shop are delicious. So are the hamburgers that are the size of my head, and I have a big head!

    I’m hungry now.

  3. I loved the story about your father, that you wrote some time ago.
    I love this story of your grandmother and the pictures. She’s beautiful.
    I see where you get your looks :)
    Blessings Ben,

  4. What a blessing! My parents are 93 & 92 (also a blessing), but I was only able to know one of grandparents to any extent (I guess one of the downsides of being the youngest). One died before I was born and two died when I was very small. I can relate to the toenail trimming. Mom can’t reach hers anymore, and she won’t let Dad do it because he trims the toes as much as the nails!

    Your grandmother is a fine looking lady. The cemetery that is in the background (Concord, maybe?) sure is reminescent of a lot of our old East Texas cemeteries. We live south of Longview (Henderson area). Our roots grow deep here.

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