Quilting, Farming, Variety

Friday, May 6, 2011

On Becoming Grandma's Hero

Grandma, 81 years, 8 months

As I have mentioned before, Grandma wasn't very affectionate; maybe after raising twelve children she just didn't care anymore. I always thought she probably considered my cousin and me as pests, and I'll admit, we did do some pesky things. She lived in the house where she had raised part of her children, with her youngest son, his wife, and my cousin, only a short distance from us, so I saw her just about every day. When we all went to work she stayed alone.

Now I have heard Daddy say she wasn't a very good housekeeper; she had rather set traps on top of fence posts to catch hawks and go check them later to see if her hens were safer for having caught one. Whenever she had a task to do, like moving furniture, she did it herself, and when someone would ask how in the world she managed to do it, she would reply, "Where there's a will, there's a way!" And one of those tasks came to involve me.

It was peach season. Daddy had started preaching this year and so he didn't work at the orchard anymore; this morning he had gone to town. I didn't go to work this day (monthly cramps), but all the rest were gone. Around noon I made a trip to the outhouse and heard someone calling for help. I listened, then realized it was Grandma so I hurried up to see what was wrong. I saw her on the ground, and when I got closer, saw dried blood on her arm; the bone was showing through the skin too. She had been pulling weeds, and when the weed came up, she fell backwards, resulting in a compound fracture to her upper arm. I helped her to the house and we began thinking of how we could get word to the others to come take her to the doctor. I thought I could drive their car but she wouldn't let me do that. And then we thought of the big iron dinner bell that hung on the garden fence post. We weren't supposed to ring the bell unless there was an emergency, but sometimes, when no one was in the field, we would ring it just to hear its loud noise. I pushed the bell back and forth, hoping, but wondering too, if anyone would hear the ringing. As luck would have it, a man up on the hill behind the house heard the bell, called to me to see if something was wrong. Then he went to the peach shed and got word to the folks.

After all this was over and Grandma's arm had healed, I think she looked at me differently, for years afterward she talked about how I had helped her.


  1. Good story - I never heard that one. The way you've described your grandma makes me wonder, am I like her??

  2. This is just wonderful. I can imagine that you must have been proud to have helped her -- and give her reason to see you as a responsible person! Good thinking about the dinner bell. I, too, remember hearing our neighbor ring theirs at lunchtime (dinnertime to us back then!).

  3. I love reading your stories about long ago days. I have so much respect for our foremothers who worked so hard to raise large families.

  4. It's good that you had that big dinner bell to ring. I put a little one on the back of our deck. I like hearing it and ring it every now and then.