Monday, January 09, 2006


We shifted furniture around yesterday. I needed a writing table in my office so we moved a small table from in front of our windows in the living room and replaced the table with an antique trunk left to Jilda by her grandmother Mammie Phillips.
Mammie was a character. She was a gardener extraordinaire and an avid reader and a midwife. She knew the names of trees, birds, and most any other critter that she came across. She knew herbal cures that today modern science is now “discovering”.
She was over seventy when we married but she was still sharp as a tack. I've heard people say her hearing aids whistled in church because she turned them up loud to hear the preacher. She had what seemed like hundreds of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren….so many in fact that she had trouble with the names. One grandchild’s name she did remember was Jilda. Each year at Christmas she always got me the same gift – a pair of white sox. Always beautifully wrapped. She could never remember my name so she wrote on my gift To: Jilder’s husband. Even thinking about those sox right now makes me smile.
Mammie had another gift and that was beautiful craftwork. Each year at Decoration at Dilworth Church, she worked for weeks on end making crape paper flowers and she somehow coated them with wax. The result was stunning arrangements that were one of a kind. She also made delicate crotched scarves, dollies (pronounced doilies) and tablecloths. When Mammie died, most of her handmade things got distributed. It’s hard to say who got what, but I hope whoever received these things treasure them.
Before she died, she gave Jilda a few dollies and a headscarf. They were in the trunk and I had never really looked at them. I can’t imagine the amount of effort and time it took to produce these fragile works of art. They are truly things of beauty.
She also left Jilda something else more subtle --- a love of animals, birds, and most any living thing. She won’t even step on a spider or run over a snake with her car if she can avoid it. She also loves plants. Anyone that comes to our house will understand as our living room doubles as a greenhouse. We have every kind of plant and herb you can think of and her summer salads are legendary.
I am thankful for all my friends and family, but I am especially thankful for Mammie and the impact she had on our lives.

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