Flowers for Grandma

Two weeks ago from today my grandmother passed away at the age of 94. She had no regrets except not being able to die at home. My brother and I have great memories of her and we both have her sarcastic sense of humor. Grandma had an independent streak too and was still sharp of mind at 94. The sheriff finally took her driver’s license away at the age of 88 since she was a danger on the road to everyone.

We learned so much about her at the funeral in Horse Cave. She’s from a small town in Kentucky which literally has one stop light downtown by the railroad tracks and everyone knows her. Each had their own “Mildred” story to share. She always spoke about us and everyone was consistent stating she had such pride in her grandchildren.

The juiciest story was told by Aunt Roxie…Grandma was sent off to boarding school at 15 because she was the ‘smart one.’ This was 1932 in rural Kentucky during the Great Depression. My grandmother went to boarding school as promised, but then decided to run away and marry my grandfather, Jim. To make it more interesting, Jim was 30 and worked as a farm-hand for my great-grandfather who owned a tobacco farm. Didn’t work out the way her father had planned. Drama!

She didn’t always work on a farm. Grandma actually ran her own restaurant for 25 years and was a nurses aid for another 20 years before retiring. She liked to help others and gave back to the community. Her only complaint was “everybody knows your damn business in this little town.” Her biggest heartache was out-living her only child, my father, who passed away 12 years ago.

It was fun visiting the farm when we were little and I remember always picking “flowers in the garden.” These were actually weeds from the front yard. She took this photo of me and my dad with a bouquet of flowers I just picked. These flowers are for you Grandma.


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