Their is a special woman who brought so much joy and delight into to my life. Just thinking her names makes me smile from ear to ear. When I think about my granny so many memories flood my mind. The qualities that stick out are her strength, humor, and excellent cooking ability’s. But, the one that stands out the most is her love she had for me and everyone who meet her. My granny had her first child at eleven years old and twenty more followed behind, four of them were twins. She raised them by herself without the help of a husband.
After all her kids were grown and had moved out the house and had kids of their own she took me in and raised me. We didn’t have much but, we made do with the little we did have. I stayed with the things I needed and never went without food, shelter or clothes. We stayed outside the city limits, so all the people who stayed out there had to burn their trash because the trash man did not come to the country. This one day in particular my granny was burning trash and there was a hair spray can inside the bag.
She didn’t know that it was in there and she threw the trash in the fire. As she watched the fire burn the can exploded and caught her on fire. A person driving by seen her and came to her aid. She was rushed to the hospital with third and fourth degree burns over sixty percent of her body. She went through many weeks of physical therapy the doctors told her that she was going to lose her hand motion do to the extent of the burns on her hand and, that she would not be able to move her legs as good as she did before.
But my granny worked hard to get her movement back in her hands and legs, and she was up moving around like her old self in no time. I remember when I was about six years old I came home from school and I was sitting in the living room with my aunt, mother, and granny. And my granny was chewing some gum and I ask her, “granny how are you chewing that gum and you don’t have any teeth? ” She looks at me and says,” girl I just got strong gums. ” I said “but granny how can you eat your food since you don’t have any teeth? She say “child I can eat my food just fine without any teeth I can even bite your finger off. ” I tell her “no you can’t! ” She tells me well put your finger in my mouth and find out and I did and she bit me, and it hurt so badly. My mother and aunt were so tickled that she bit me and they laugh really hard. I can say at the time I didn’t think it was very funny but when I look back at it now it makes me laugh every time. And I just loved when it was cold outside she would come in the house and she would always say, “It’s colder than a wells digger’s ass outside! When I heard her say that I cried laughing at her because I’ve never heard anyone say that before she always had a little saying for something. I also remember a time my uncle came to our house late one night drunk and fell asleep in her rocking chair. She went and got her makeup and figure nail polish and paints his nails and put makeup on his face and she went to sleep. We woke up the next morning to my uncle cursing really loud saying “Winnie Mae, how the hell I’m going to get this mess off me? I go in the living room and see him with the lipstick and blush on his face and his red finger nails and burst out laughing at him, she tells him “I bet you take your butt home next time! ” Needless to say he did not come to the house when he was drunk again. My granny’s cooking was in a league all by its self. She could cook any and everything you could think of. The holiday’s was my favorite because she would go all out on the food and deserts.
Her and my mother would compete on who could make the best dressing at Christmas time and even do my granny’s was the best she told me not to tell my mother that cause she did not want to hurt her feelings. This one time she made this lemon cake and she did not have any icing to put on the cake. So she gets lemon Kool-Aid and sugar mix it together and put a little water with it and poured it over the cake and it was like a piece of heaven, it was so moist you could just eat it by its self you didn’t need any milk to wash it down with or nothing that was the best lemon cake I’ve ever ate in my life.
She would have cookout’s at her house and invite all the family over and would have all kinds of food ribs with her special made sauce, brisket that was so tender it melt in your mouth like a Crispy Cream donut, smoked ham, pig feet and ears, chitterlings, greens that were picked out of her garden, macaroni and cheese that was so cheesy it felt like you could blow a bubble with it, The list went on and on with her food.
Sometimes I had to work and could not make it to the get together and she would make a huge platter of food and she knew what I did and did not eat, and she would fix my food before everyone else ate to make sure I had some food put up for when I got off of work. If I didn’t know how to cook something all I had to do was call her on the phone and she would coach me over the phone on how to make it. Her food was so good people use to pay her to cook for them on holidays and she would do it. She always made good money cooking for people.
She inspired me so much with her cooking that I love to cook myself and I want to open up my own soul food restaurant and call it Winnie-Baby’s. I Want to use the rescipes that she tought me over the and some of my own. My granny was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July two thousand ten and it was like someone put a weight on my heart. I cried a million tears when she told me and all she did was whole me as I cried. My six foot frame towering over her small five foot one frame and she just held me and told me that everything was going to be alright, that the doctors said that they could remove the cancer and she would be fine.
She told me that I was her baby and her most special grandchild that I could not be weak right now I had to hold strong for her cause she was going to beat this cancer. Well she had the surgery and the cancer was bigger then what they thought and she was placed on hospice. All my uncles, aunts, cousins and her close friends provided around the clock care for her and one day I get a phone call and they said the cancer has traveled to her brain and she does not remember anybody and I need to come see her before it was too late.
I rush home from work and all her kids and grandchildren are standing around the bed and she had the most lost expression on her face like she was in a room with strangers and when I walked through the door of her room and she saw me she said my name, “Stephanie! ” Out of all the people in the room I’m the only person she remembered and I’ll never forget that. Shortly after that she passed away and the day of her funeral it rained cats and dogs outside. When we made it to the church there was a line of people standing outside in the rain to pay their last respects to my granny.
The church was so crowded that it was standing room only. When it was time for people to give their finial remarks people lined up just to go up there to say how sweet of a person my granny was. How she was a hard worker and how she did not have much but she would give her last to who ever needed it. She had a three and a half hour funeral and its was mostly from people speaking on how good of a person she was and how much she loved everybody and they loved her too. My granny did not have a lot of things but she gave the one thing she did have to me and everyone who knew her and that was her love.
When anyone asks me, “Who’s your people? ” All I had to do was say her name “Winnie Henderson was my grandmother” and they would say “yeah I know Ms. Winnie; she was a good lady and could cook her tail off too. ” That always brings a smile to my face, because even though she’s gone people still think and speak highly of her. I would give anything to have her back but I’ll settle for the fun filled and loving memories I have of her. And even though she’s gone I still feel her with me and I dream about her almost every night. As long as she’s watching over me and the rest of my family I know that were in the best of hands.