Both my grandmothers were amazing women in their own right. Both had traveled long distance when they were young ladies and were very independent, especially considering the times they grew up in. It is no wonder that I named my daughter after them in hopes that their spirits would inspire her.
My dad’s mom, Yvonne came from Hemphill, Texas. It is a small town north-east of Houston, small at least when I visited there with her. It was much smaller when she was growing up. She would talk about home with all her brothers and sisters and all the neighbor kids playing together, and she made it sound like heaven. I remember all the little bits of Texas she brought with her to Massachusetts. Thanks to her, I love grits with butter and a little salt and pepper. She used to grow red chili peppers to hang for decoration, quite the rarity at that time and place. She would warn me not to eat them because they were too hot. I promised her I wouldn’t eat them but I didn’t say anything about feeding them to others. It turns out they were quite hot and I would loose a friend until we found someone else to eat one.
When I was just barely a teen we took a road trip down the east coast camping and went back to my Grandmother’s childhood home. It was amazing. I had never seen so much flat earth. We thought the driving was bad, especially for truckers, because we kept seeing long strips of tire on the road. Then my dad stopped and look closer and realized they were snakes that got run over. He never took off his boots after that, even sleeping.
I met family I didn’t know, and they were warm and welcoming. So were their neighbors. And strangers, if you could call someone that friendly a stranger. We did some tourist stuff, and, God, the steaks were amazing. But the best part for me was when I got to get up bright and early and go feed a bottle to a baby calf. I was covered in dirt and slobber soon enough, and it was awesome.
One of the things I thought was the strangest was how comfortable people there were with poisonous things like swimming in a river with water moccasins. The elders got together and talked about the last time it flooded, how they found three rattlesnakes in the chair I was sitting in. Don’t get me started on fire ants. Or flying giant cockroaches.
Texans are tough, they are sweet, and strong, and wonderful. Family means a lot. We drifted apart after that trip, lost any touch when my grandmother passed. But the events of this week makes think of all those people, all those Texans. So, from a granddaughter of a Texan, please keep yourself safe and I am sending as much sunshine from CA as I can and all my best thoughts.
Along with what money we can spare. Cause we are all part of the American family. And that’s what family does.
Google is matching any donations, but it does go to the Red Cross eventually.
Have a good day, keep safe