Well, unfortunately, today's topic is "your parents." Ok, let's just... don't. But instead, let's focus on my sweet, batty grandmother.
My grandmother's name is Helen Virginia Fondren Ford. I am named after her, as is my youngest daughter. (I'm Mary Virginia, she is Emily Virginia.) She lives just over the state line in the metropolis of Pine Grove, AL (there is a water tower, 2 churches - not even sure if one is still open, and an old "community center.") which is actually just a few minutes from Ethelsville, AL - which isn't much better - but the road does 4-lane there. Ha! :) She's lived there since she and my Paw Paw bought their house and some land way back in 1980 or so. We lost my Paw Paw in 2005 and she's been out there mostly on her own ever since. My uncle John lived with her for a while. She gets lonesome and it is about a 20 minute drive to Columbus, MS. I just wish she lived in town, but not sure if that will ever happen. I am, frighteningly, a little mini-me of my grandmother. We have a lot of the same tastes, we have similar personalities, we have similar interests. She was taking me shopping and to ballgames from the time I was born. She started bringing me coffee from McDonald's when I was about 2. I would follow her around anywhere growing up. I idolized my grandfather, but it was my grandmother who I always was with and wanted to be with. I really feel it was her that taught me to be the Southern lady I am today. She taught me a lot about Southern goodies - caramel cake, pralines, divinity, cheese grits, etc. I loved being in the kitchen making divinity and other candy/cookies with her. She loves sweets like you would NOT BELIEVE. She taught me about volunteering to bring food - to everything. To join clubs and to belong to something and to bring food to the meetings. She has taught me that you always make your dining table look good. I have no idea how many times we would stand in her dining room figuring out how to set the table, which china to use, and what sort of centerpiece to use. She is probably where I got my love of decorating. I could also spend hours standing or sitting at her bathroom vanity looking at all her cosmetics, her perfumes, her hair stuff. I still love when she gets free samples from Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique, or whoever and sends them to me as "happies." She always had a pretty bed, with all the pretty pillows, etc. She is the one who has always taken me to nice restaurants and taught me how to order, how to eat, how to behave, manners, etc. Even when I was very young, my grandmother would take me to "nice" restaurants. I have loved a good spinach salad from the time I was probably 7-8 years old because of Maw Maw taking me to "Annie's"... a restaurant that used to be in Columbus. She corrected my grammar -constantly. Did you know that "stink" is not a word?? You say "smells bad." (according to my grandmother.) She told me to stand up straight. She told me not to put my elbows on the table. She permed my hair every time she could get me to the beauty shop. She taught me to never lose my cool - especially in public. (I am STILL working on that one.) She never cries. Ever. And I get more like that the older I get. She used to say the noise from the TV was "making her nervous." Again, I find myself constantly turning the TV down or off.
I do NOT get to see her often enough now. Not having a car is a pain in the butt sometimes, along with working full time. But I still have my weekly hour long phone conversations with her and I enjoy every single minute of them. She keeps me filled in, she makes me giggle, and she makes me yearn to see her for a little while. My Maw Maw is so much of who I am today. She has taught me so well. I hope that I am able to continue to pass a lot of what she teaches me on to my girls!!! LOVE YOU, MAW MAW!!!