The small college town was rather silent until Christmas and then it came to life. Lights were strung from pillar to post on the smallest porch and from each tree. I think Christmas was my favorite holiday because I could hear the angels sing once more.
Some people thought my Granny was snooty but could not feel her love like I could.
She wore a printed dress and an apron with white lace she had sown for herself. She didn’t have money to afford many shopping occasions. I suppose all of her eight children remembered her best this time of the year and presented her with the things she could not afford. She always wore a smile at Christmas time and I love to see her laugh. Her little round tummy would shake as she cackled from her wooden rocking chair.
Granny made herself a cotton purse and she pinned it to her petticoat. I asked her why she did so and she winked a little wink.
“No body will ever think to undress an old woman like myself and if I forget where I left it, I’m sure I’ll find it at bedtime.”
She said to me as she wiped the spit from her lip.
Her love for snuff was a nasty thing but she had only that one little vice. I could smell it as she whispered to me as we knelt to pray granny’s special prayer.
“God up in heaven hear an old woman’s prayer. Let the angels gather around me and the little ones I bear. We ask not for money or any selfish goods to keep. Whisper softly to us as we sleep”. She said with a hushed trembling voice.”
“Take all the spiders out of our shoes.” I added quickly.
“Keep the wrinkles under the face powder for I don’t want to look older than I should. Speak to Mr. Tanner across the way. Tell him I don’t want another man to pamper in this life. If you don’t speak to him Lord, his head will soon collide with my iron frying pan.
Powder our bodies with scented powder, heal each and every scrape. Look upon us as little lambs in a world of sinful greed.
“Keep the wolves in the woods and don’t let them come into our yard.” I added quickly.
“Watch over us as we sleep and bring pleasant dreams to our heads through the night.
Forgive us for the sinfulness we come upon everyday. Take us into your arms when we die and don’t ever let us forget you created us from the dusty roads you once walked upon. Build our mansions high, reaching to the sky. Shower our shoes with diamonds and don’t be to quick to stop. Let the patchouli blossoms leave a floral scent upon our night gowns and upon the pillows under our heads.
Take care of all my children, and grandchildren. Watch over the mothers and fathers each day. We leave them in your care. Wait for those who have gone astray and gently lead them back with your gentle hands. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!”
“Amen” I chimed.
“Hang the devil with a rope that will not break and take all the bad dreams away.” I stuttered as I quenched my eyes tightly closed once more.
This was the prayer we prayed each and every day. Sometimes we left out parts. Sometimes we added a bit more. It was lifted for those we loved and those we didn’t love so much.
It seems that Granny was always talking to God even if she didn’t take the time to kneel. I’d hear her talking when she was cleaning or pressing each piece of clothing she had previously washed on the old wash board. I think He heard her because He answered her all the time. I’d sit on her lap and play with the loose skin upon her aged hands. I asked why it wasn’t attached like Mommy’s but she just sighed a soft tender sigh. I know she knew but she didn’t take the time to answer all of my million questions every day.
I hope you have a granny and I hope she teaches you to pray. I hope God never takes her to heaven because I like having her with me. I’ll just ask Him to wait till I’m all grown and the skin on my hands stands up between two little fingers just like my Granny’s hands do.
Written by Sybil Shearin
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