Monday, January 21, 2008

Grandma's Feather Bed

Recently a fellow blogger lost her grandmother. It triggered some of the fond memories that I have of my grandmother, who has been gone for over 40 years.
My grandmother and her family settled in Henryetta, Oklahoma prior to statehood when it was still known as Indian Territory. Henryetta is about 45 miles south of Tulsa. My great grandmother's family were charter members of First Baptist Church, Henryetta, Oklahoma which was founded in 1903. Oklahoma didn't become a state until 1907.
My grandfather was a coal miner at the Blackstone Mine which was located between Henryetta and Okmulgee. He died from black lung disease.
I was born in Henryetta in 1946. My parents were married in 1942 and were living with my grandparents when dad was called into the Navy during WWII. My mother stayed with her parents until the war was over and dad came home. Not long after dad came home, nature took it's course and here I am...a first wave "Baby Boomer"!!! I was the first boy in the family for as far back as anyone could remember. Well my grandmother had a younger brother, but I was the first grandchild which made me very special in her eyes.
My parents moved to Tulsa when I started to school. However, since Henryetta was so close, we would visit my grand parents once or twice a month. In the summer I would go and spend two weeks at grandma's house. This usually occurred in August, since I played baseball every summer. August in Oklahoma! 104 degrees in the shade and there is no shade. I hasn't rained since mid June so the dust is ankle deep, but I loved it. One of my fondest memories was making lye soap.
This required a fire, a cast iron kettle, and all day in that August heat. I know now that my grandmother would have much rather made that soap in late September or early October, but her only grandchild was there in August, so we made it in August. Grandma had a feather bed too! Yes sir! If you've ever been in an antique store and seen those iron beds, well, my grandma had one and it had a feather mattress on it. The pillows were goose down made from geese that my father and grandfather shot down on the Canadian River bottom. For you history buffs, this was a place that Belle Star, and Bonnie and Clyde Barrow were known to frequent from time to time. But, I digress. On those hot August nights grandma would get a pan of water, place a small block of ice in it and blow a fan across it. Primitive air conditioning.
My fondest memory though is my grandma's faith in action. In her living room was a rocking chair and a foot stool. Actually, it was called a hassock. It was made from a small cheese barrel. She had upholstered the sides and the lid. She kept her dress patterns in that hassock. I own that item to this day. It doesn't mean anything to anyone but me and here is why. Every night before going to bed my grandmother would pray. She would get up from the rocker, turn off the television set, get on her knees at that hassock and pray. I know that she prayed for her entire family and I am convinced that on her knees, in front of that hassock, she prayed me into God's kingdom. Thanks Grandma.


Sandee said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. They are indeed very special aren't they. Have a great day. :)

Forgetfulone said...

That was a wonderful story! Brought back memories of my own grandparents who lived in Malvern. In fact, my aunt and uncle still own the house they (grandparents) lived in, and I have relatives in Benton and Hot Springs. Thanks for the memories!

Rhonda said...

Now that was one fine woman.
I hope my Grandchildren can say such things about me someday.

Anonymous said...

that was a great tribute! I am sure you miss her. I know you are thankful for those memories! I am thankful for mine and thinking on them a lot lately! Thank you for sharing this!! I have my grandmothers Bible. I only wish I knew if the Word had any effect on her heart. I will leave that in the Lord's hands!

Joyce said...

Grandma's are wonderful. Mine has been gone for 5 years now and I miss her a lot.