Nannie has wonderful stories of she and Miss Juanita going to the movies, riding the bus into Nashville, stories that make her face light up.. The giggles you get when she talks about she and Miss Juanita riding in the rumble seat. These stories and the look on her face always made me think… this was her only time of freedom. While surviving the pain of loosing a mother young, the loss of a younger brother was difficult as well. She was so smart not to marry before her love returned from war, she would have been tied down with a baby and never had this freedom. It made me think…. How much freedom do I want in my life? How much of myself am I willing to cut out of my chest and pack in a box and never be able to see, or feel those things again.
Nannie waited for Cecil to return and after an AWOL he did… They got married! She wore a beautiful brown suite with green around the trim. Life changed. Children are a joy … And Nannie had three, My Mother, Judy Freeman Lain, My Uncle Steve, and My Aunt Gale (yes it is spelled correctly for her)
All of these thoughts started because I was making beans and corn bread the other day…
How do I see my Nannie? I see her as she was on the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. I will never see her any different. Last night I dozed and thought with a fast paced mind, as the smell of cooking beans still lingered in my little house; and made me think of soft worn kitchen towels, that smelled of the sun and wind instead of food. I don’t remember Nannie ever having new kitchen towels. Then my mind raced back to her stove, not very different from mine today, the kitchen cabinets, the Formica covered counter tops.
I would feel the movement of my little bird I was nursing through the night and the racing of my mind would calm. I would ease back into thoughts of Nannie. It’s the smell again, but in my mind it was my often requested skillet fried potatoes, something mother never made for some reason, a hint of onion I thought and then corrected myself, can’t be “the twins will not like that” but that cast iron skillet; it must be the secret to the perfect potatoes with or with out the onions… IF ever something happens Nannie, that skillet is all I want, I’ll make sure you get it she would say, and today it makes the most delicious, perfectly brown, non sticking pan fried potatoes. A true treasure from the past!
It is funny how we all see things differently. I saw Pawpaw as the one that ran around doing everything, but Nannie was the one that was the center hub. Why? Well because no matter what, it was her table I always sat. She was the one always home. It was her table that no one could leave with out eating. Pawpaw was the same but most of his time in the house was shared between his chair at the table and his chair in the living room/TV room. Nannie sat at the table and read the paper from front to back every day.
Nannie was the center hub for the force that kept me sane in the crazy world of teenagers. Well I was well beyond teenage years BUT I was a late bloomer in every aspect of life. Because I was so far behind (due to living in my fish bowl) during times other girls were starting to appreciate parents I was still butting heads with mine. Maybe because in reality Mother and I are so alike we can’t see past our own visions, but Nannie would always give me something else to focus on. Aunt Gale was always my back up! The three of us… really four of us; but Pawpaw would eventually get tired, move to his chair, bark something into the conversation if he felt like it, or would leave to do something with the animals, farm or visit someone.
My thoughts danced all night, The first big car I remember them getting… They picked me up at school, we got groceries at Bates Food town. It was new to them, but had stickers all over the dash! It had always been the truck I remembered before that.
The movement of my bird, realizing it’s cold out side the cover I have thrown over me, makes me think of outside, my clothes line, Nannies clothes line, the smell of her towels, the smell of alcohol, her shoes, the way she cut the toes from her old pairs. How I have only in the past few years gotten into wearing pretty shoes, how Nannie was so fascinated by a pair I had on last I went to see her. Are those comfortable? She would ask, no mam. Do they feel good? Not at all, Nannie. She would continue to look at them and I finally asked her… Would you like to try them on? We both just laughed, with a full belly laugh, free to feel, free to react, with out a care in the world.
I have always been able to Laugh and Cry with Nannie I have always had a special place in my heart for her. I LOVE YOU Nannie, I will always love you, and I miss you terribly!