Monday, November 15, 2010

Mamaw Audrey....Great Balls of Fire!

I believe that ole' Jerry Lee meant for this to be an exclamation.  And an exclamation is exactly what my Mamaw is.  Where do I start?  To truly grasp my relationship with my maternal grandmother, one must realize just how close we are.  She has always lived next door to my parents, and has had a fundamental role in my "raising".  I have spent probably just as many nights at her house as I have my parent's, and got to go back as an adult and live with her for a month and a half before my wedding to Woody.  (Much to Woody's chagrin, he says that made me waaaaay too spoiled!)  Everyone in my home county knows "Mamaw Audrey" or simply "Mamaw".  It is true.  She is so larger than life that she only needs one name (move over Cher).  She is a fireball with the determination and business sense of Scarlett O'Hara, the brutal honesty of "Weezer" Boudreaux, and the kindness and neighborly friendship of Aunt Bea. 

Honestly, I could fill pages with "Mamaw Stories".  Things that she has said or done (mostly said) that could keep us entertained for hours on end.  Mamaw is truly a "ball of fire" and she says absolutely what she thinks.  And her grandchildren (now great-grandchildren, too)  do no wrong.  Just ask Woody.  Before our wedding we were sitting at Mamaw's kitchen table when she gave him some unsolicited marriage advice.  It goes something like this, Mamaw:  "Woody, now you need to know that I don't believe that Mandy has ever made a mistake.  So if you and her feel the need to squabble and you disagree with her, don't come running to me.  I will always believe that she is right."  Woody: "Mamaw, that is EXACTLY what is wrong with her!"  And it is.  But shouldn't everyone be spoiled rotten by their Mamaw?  But while she was cooking me my favorite foods, letting me pluck snacks and gum off the shelf at the station, or letting me run up a tab at the Village Shoppe, she has passed on some pretty great traits.  Here is just a few:

1. Keen Business Sense
This might seem a little strange when one is describing their grandmother, but Mamaw truly has the best business know how of anyone I know.  She has impeccable accounting skills and according to many a sales tax auditor keeps the cleanest, clearest bunch of books around.  She ran a full service gas station after my Papaw passed when I was two years old.  Her and the men.  This is back when people actually pumped your gas for you(oh, how I miss those days!).  The men pumped gas, changed oil, worked on tires (more often than not, timberjack tires.  In case you didn't know they are pretty huge), and washed cars.  Mamaw supervised it all from a stool behind the cash register.  Along with several old men who sat around, drank Cokes, and talked about everyone who came through the gas pumps.  Some of my fondest memories involve being up there at that service station.  It is on that concrete wall that my height was measured year after year with black magic marker, and it was there that I learned to handle money, balance books, and keep track of profits.  I was always so proud of her, she seemed so sure of herself and so smart.  And I wanted to be just like that.  She also made everyone feel welcome, which leads to the next point....

2. Politician-like personality
Award winning personality. Yep, she's got it.  Adults and children adore her.  Mamaw is as charming of a lady as they come.  We often joked that she could have been governor if she would have just decided to do so.  She doesn't forget names and she remembers everything about you after you've met.  Probably because there has been lengthy discussions about you and "where you came from" after you've left.  Must figure out whose child you are and your mother's mother who was the sister of so and get the point.  She also sees the best in people which I believe leads to her charm.  A person is never too high or too low to receive her undivided attention. One of the lessons she told me on one of our Friday night eating outs is, "You need to speak to people and hug their necks."  Which meant, to make everyone you come in contact with feel special.  Speak first, speak often, and people will fill welcome.  She truly believes that we are all God's children and deserve her respect.  However, once you are the recipient of her love and respect, you get the truth....

3. Brutal Honesty
Gained a few pounds?  Not been attending church?  Hair too long or short?  Dressing terribly? Again, gained a few pounds?  If you are one of the chosen ones to be in Mamaw's "love circle", you are getting the truth, whether you like it or not.  I have heard her give the what for to many of the old men that passed their golden years away up at the station and I have also been the recipient of the "gained a few pounds" comments.  Whew! It's tough. When I would come home from college, I would always stop at the station (or later on the Video Store) first.  It was tradition that I see her before Momma or Daddy and that is just how she liked it (and me too!)   But before I walked in after a long three hour drive, I managed to slide on a little lipstick and I never wore slouchy driving clothes.  Because intense scrutiny lie inside those glass doors and when you have been gone for a month, it is even stronger.  She assessed and hopefully I came out favorably. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't, but you can be sure if I didn't, I deserved it. That is what is so grand.  It takes someone who loves you to tell you "like it is" and the world would be a much better place if their were more people just like her.

4.Devotion to God
Mamaw is extremely faithful and her devotion to Jesus Christ is amazing.  For as long as I can remember, she is there every time the church doors open, even when she worked six days a week.  Every night, she reads her Bible and prays for her loved ones, the sick, and missionaries. The latter of which she read aloud to me every night from the book, "Open Windows", a practice adopted by her mother.  By the way, I asked her just yesterday does she still do that, and she said, "Yes, every night."  What faith!  It was she that I loved to follow to church, to the alter, and to the Word of God.  It was she and I that would head up to the Gospel Mission on Saturday nights and listen to old time gospel music.  (I still love that old gospel music now) I hope that my in my adulthood, my faith and love for Jesus can compare to hers.  She is truly an inspiration and a blessing from our Lord and Savior!

I must be honest, in reading back over this blog. This truly does not capture everything about her personality.  But she is not one to be summed up in one simple article, as I stated before, a book could be devoted to her story and the stories that she herself creates.  A pillar of strength, a bundle of charm, and a dash of simply hilarious, I love everything about her.  The impact that she has had of my life cannot be measured, but I hope that the lessons stick.  She has tried her best to instill in me the best things that she has to offer, but as hard as I try, she cannot be duplicated.  And that is truly for the best, because she is one of a kind. 

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