I remember walking along the road holding my grandmother's hand, popping the bubbles that rose in the hot asphalt with my toes. My Granny never learned how to drive, so when we wanted to go somewhere we would walk, join Wayne and Lucy on their weekly trip to town, or much later when I was old enough, Granny would bravely buckle herself into my car. That is a story for a different day though.
Several times when I stayed with my Granny, we walked over to her mom's house. Granny Ollie's farm sits down the road a short ways, just past Wayne and Lucy's property. We would turn right off the road and cross the fence. I always climbed over the chipped aluminum bars while Granny just opened it, proclaiming that I would fall and break my arm. We stumbled down the hill, along the dirt driveway, two parallel tire tracks marking the way to the house. Before we could get to the house though, a two- or three-foot wide trickling of water that Granny called "the branch" intersected the drive. I can still hear what my Granny told me every time we encountered the ominous water.
"One time I was walking home and it had just been raining, so the branch was a little higher than usual. I got it into my head that I would jump over it and so I backed up and then took a big jump. And then I landed face first in that water, getting soaked from head to foot. I came in the house crying and upset. My mom didn't know what had happened to me!"
Most of the times we walked over there, we brought a paper bag filled with sandwiches and would explore the house a bit after eating lunch at the kitchen table. My great grandmother's furniture still sits in each room. The stove is still backed against a wall in the kitchen, though the ancient green refrigerator sits ajar. I remember always wanting to explore the rooms in a hope to find secret treasure that someone had carelessly left behind. I never found anything in particular, but the last time I walked out there with Shirleen I did find some amazing glass bowls that (apparently) used to come in boxes of oatmeal in the upper room of the barn.
Now that I think back on those lunchtime experiences, I realize that Granny was just coming back to her house to remember times with her mom. quite similar to the dinners my dad, his siblings, and I assemble at Granny's house now. It always feels so nice to sit around her big oak table and sit with my family, though it hurts a bit that she isn't there to join us. I guess we all just itch for nostalgia.
I don't know very much about Granny Ollie, other than from the snippets of stories I have heard from Granny and my dad. One thing I like to think is that she was probably a lot like me. She seemed to tell it how she saw it, and didn't have as strong a strain of that southern politeness that most of my family is steeped in. She also dipped snuff, which I don't think was typically something ladies did, so while I would never use any type of tobacco products, I also run a little against the grain.
The reason I thought to tell you a little bit about Granny Ollie today was because according to my dad she would always say, "If you work on New Year's Day, you'll work all year long," I take that saying to heart, and hope to make a solid start to 2013. This morning I got up and went running in a rainy 35 degrees (it wasn't the worst thing I have ever done), and then sat down and cut some pearl in hopes to appease my great grandmother, and hopefully be encouraged to learn a lot, work hard, and make some great instruments this year.
I hope that 2012 has treated you well, and that 2013 brings health and happiness for you and your loved ones!
- I began this blog in order to share my experiences learning instrument building from my dad, but along with those stories I look forward to sharing my memories of growing up with two busy, musically inclined parents as well as my current experiences stepping out on my own as a female luthier promoting environmental sustainability in her instruments while working to alter gender stereotypes in a male dominated field. If you'd like to use quotes from this blog for interviews or in your own work, please contact me first! (email is email@example.com)