If Notre Dame was in the Southeastern Conference, they’d be behind Vanderbilt in the SEC football rankings. None of my Catholic friends are returning phone calls. Regis Philbin no longer wears green. All I can say is “Roll Tide, Roll.”
I just thought we will have to wait until August for college football. It has been a wonderful week. Classes started and the weather has been warming up as the week went along.
Today and tomorrow the temperature is more like an April day than a January one. Today is an important day: Some great entertainers, such as long-time favorite Ray Price, the Oak Ridge Boys’ William Lee Golden, Ricky Van Shelton, and the legendary Tex Ritter were all born on Jan. 12. Hard to believe that Elvis would have been 78 last Tuesday.
Jan. 12 is quite special to me because on this day in 1888 in Franklin County, Ga., the kindest person I ever knew was born. She never went to Europe, New York City, or Rome, Italy. She did go to Rome, Ga., a few times. She never went to college or penned a book. She never owned anything made by Gucci, Ralph Lauren, or Versace. She never shopped at a Walmart or tasted a McRib.
She never missed a chance to vote. I learned more about politics from her than from any political science professor I ever had in college. She believed that a public servant is just that. They should serve the people who elected them. She thought political corruption should be settled by hanging. She believed that people were essentially good, and she lived by the Golden Rule.
She never read Shakespeare, or Dickens or Twain. Her favorite books were by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. She read the Bible cover to cover more than a few times. She didn’t believe in ill-gotten gain. She’d say “son anything worth having is worth working for.” She also said to me more than once “everything you do, you need to give it your best.”
She mostly wore cotton house dresses but on Sunday, she’d break out her best. She always wore a hat to church. She’d have to be sick in the bed to miss Sunday School and church at First Baptist. She loved to hear Bud Jones singing in the church choir singing lead on “Shall We Gather At the River” and Bud sang it at her funeral almost 30 years ago.
My grandmother thought that George Beverly Shea was a great singer, but not as good as Bud Jones. She loved hymns like “In the Garden” and “At the Cross,” and she loved to hear the Rev. S. T. Skaggs preach the word at First Baptist. She thought it should be against the law for the National Football League to play on Sunday. She believed the Beatles would have had more success had they gotten a haircut. She thought Elvis was OK because he loved his mama, served in the U. S. Army, and sang “How Great Thou Art.”
She could make a banquet of butter beans, cornbread, and peach cobbler. She’d cook beans and peas in a covered pot on a space heater in the living room. She always had a place at the dinner table for anyone who happened by. She planted a garden until she was into her eighth decade. Back in the day when the insurance companies had debit agents, she’d always give them a hot cup of Red Diamond Coffee and a slice of her simple yellow cake when they’d stop by for their weekly collection.
Watching television meant that if the Super Bowl was on opposite a telecast of a Billy Graham crusade, the preacher always won. I don’t ever remember her going to the movies or “picture show” as she referred to them. I never heard a cuss word or slur come from her lips. I can’t recall her saying anything negative about anybody. She never saw a computer or a flat screen television. I just wish she could have seen an iPhone.
She read the pages of this newspaper and she really loved reading Frances Greene’s weekly column. She also was a subscirber to the Atlanta Journal, which came every afternoon around 3 p.m. She would read it cover to cover every night after putting away the dishes from supper. She loved NBC’s news with David Brinkley and Chet Huntley at 6:30 every night. Her television fare in the afternoon was “As the World Turns” and she was watching Nov. 22, 1963 when the soap opera was interrupted by the chilling words of Walter Kronkite that JFK had been murdered in Dallas.
My grandmother loved people. She read her Bible every night before turning out the lights. Our house at night was silent except for the sound of the old Whirlpool refrigerator’s low pitched motor. The night’s silence would be interrupted by the sound of the Southern Railroad trains headed to Atlanta or Birmingham.
I don’t remember ever getting up before she did. I usually was awakened by the smell of biscuits baking and bacon frying. Her hoe-cake she’d make was a form of heavenly manna. Her fried chicken’s flavor has been imbedded in my memory bank taste buds forever. She always wanted to know where I was going as I’d head out the door. I never told her that I visited Fat Gentry’s pool room. I never smoked a cigarette in my life because she pointed out they were 50 cents a pack when I was in high school.
This person believed that children needed an education. She had a number of grandchildren that graduated from college. She was proud of all of them. When my cousin, Tommy Meunier, was stationed in Korea, she’d pray aloud for him every night. She loved sitting on the porch and talking with neighbors. She never got an e-mail or a tweet. She wouldn’t have liked it because she’d think the digital age was ruining the art of conversation.
One hundred twenty five years ago today, my beloved Mamanier was born. My grandmother was a guiding force in my life and this day I am grateful to the Lord for having her in my life. She brought joy to every life she touched. I am thankful she deeply touched mine.
Rhubarb Jones is a Tallapoosa native and a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame and the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame. Comments are welcome at P.O. Box 6, Tallapoosa. GA 30176 or via email at email@example.com.