I am sitting here in my recliner looking at my Christmas tree. It’s the same artificial tree I have used for the last few years. There was one much the same before this one but one string of lights stopped working and I gave it away and bought the current tree. Trying to fix a string of lights used to piss me off big time so I don’t do that any more. Same with live trees; too much aggravation so we switched to the plastic stuff.
We accumulated the ornaments for this tree during fifty years of marriage. Early on we decorated with a lot of tinsel and strung pop corn. Now the tree is trimmed with a collection of ornaments, no two alike and each with a memory attached. There are ceramics made by my mom and sister, Hallmarks to mark particular years, gifts from the grand parents, trinkets from trips we made and special hand-me-downs. Prominently displayed near the top is a red glass globe with stripes of blue, yellow pink, green and white. It is the only one I have that belonged to my maternal grandmother.
Bammy died very young when I was about four years old so my memories of her are those from early childhood that live in the mind as moments and images rather than events. I can taste a butterscotch sundae and transport my self back to the window booth at the corner drugstore just a block away from my house. The house belonged to Bammy and Popaw. My parents, my brother and I lived with them at that time to help take care of Bammy who was very ill. Even so, she felt well enough at some point in time for she and I to walk to the drugstore and have a butterscotch sundae prepared by either Gracie or Ethyl who worked the soda fountain. It was a special treat to walk down the street holding her hand and greeting neighbors on their porches. She knew everybody and everybody seemed happy to see her.
My grandmother spent most of the last part of her life in a bed that had been moved into the living room where she could see out the window. Friends often walked up on the front porch and visited with her through the open window for just a few minutes since she did not feel up to going out. I remember sitting by her on the bed to read story books.
I don’t remember her dying but going to see her at the funeral home is still clear in my mind. My dad walked with me and picked me up to see her lying there, so very still. Her brown hair was done up in waves on top, she was dressed in a dark dress, either navy or black, with a white lace collar. Only the top half of the casket was open and I could not see her feet. We sat down on a pew and several people I knew stopped and either patted my head or kissed my cheek. I remember that I wore white gloves.