I was lying in bed late last night and could hear the sounds of frogs and crickets outside. It took me back immediately to Ware Road in the back guest room where I would share a bed with my older sister on the fun ocassion we got to spend the night with my Meme Rhodes. The only bad part of these nights was the chance that the cat, Kitty Blue, would jump up on the end of the bed and stare us down. It was then that I would hope the cat wouldn’t suck my breath and cause me to die while I slept. I heard that this could happen to babies, and I imagined it could happen to me as well. Thankfully, Kitty Blue never came closer than the end of the bed.
Marcy and I always shared the back bedroom. Cacy always got to sleep with Meme—I suppose since she was the baby.
My thoughts just kept on going last night as I thought about how we were always happy to get to stay with Meme Rhodes. We might have vegetable soup for dinner; it was usually piping hot so she would let us put a piece of ice in it to cool it down. I always sat in Daddy Zeb’s chair at the table. At this point he was probably dead for five or more years, and over the course of my life I had heard stories about how I always liked to sit with him in his chair, how he had loved me lots. And somehow in my mind that translated to me being his favorite, so I declared his chair as my chair and that was that.
In MeMe’s kitchen area a wall was filled with photos of the faces she loved the most. Each family had their photo up on the wall. Austin, the oldest and dearest grandchild to Meme, would have probably unabashedly had the most photos on the wall, except MeMe would at least try to appear to love us all equally; the rest of us knew the truth and loved her still.
In the morning we were guaranteed Rice Krispies cereal with as many spoonfuls of sugar as we could sneak into the bowl. And maybe we would get to hear songs she had written flow out of the tape recorder she would sing into on occassion. We may have had to put her furniture back in place because the night before we would have most definitely rearranged her living room furniture before settling down to watch Hee-Haw and suck on Hershey kisses until they disappeared in our mouths.
MeMe had green carpet. And a floor heater that we would jump over on our way to the bathroom in our sock feet…because MeMe never let us roam around her house without socks on our feet for fear we would catch a cold.
She taught us what “french baths” were. She always had Archie comics and Reader’s Digest in her bathroom for your convenience. And there was a room sort of like a storage room filled with Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys novel sets…maybe both, I can’t remember.
These were simple times that I love to remenince about. No worries (if you don’t count Kitty Blue’s nighttime appearance), no cares, no troubles on those spend the nights at MeMe’s house.
A sweet memory for me quickly turns to pain though when I think about the fact that my kids don’t have either of their grandmothers anymore. A grandmother’s love is special and such security can be found there. They think you are the best. Always. They defend you and protect you (from even your parents!) and give you another layer of your history and what makes you, you! A fabulous memory of MeMe tinged with sadness at the loss for my own kids. But that’s ok…and that’s how it is with most of life…a mix of joy and sadness. I pray one day I can be a grandmother that hosts spend the nights and is a place of unending love and acceptance. One day.