Monday, January 24, 2011

S*** my Mam-maw said...

The success of the book and TV series "S*** my dad said" (the book is hysterical, I haven't seen the William Shatner TV show--he's still Captain Kirk to me....) inspired me to try to write down some of the pithy wisdom of my maternal Grandmother, Lina Manona Sadler Jones. There were 16 of us first cousins--I was next to the youngest. My Uncle Harvey and Aunt Elsie adopted Denise when I was a teenager and she was 6 or 7. So, until she entered the family I'd had a long run and the youngest of 15 first cousins. And people wonder why I'm spoiled....

Mam-maw, which is what we called her, was a saintly woman, a real church goer and played piano for the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Conklintown, WV. She was also very funny and not a little wise.

I'll just give you three of her sayings.

Mam-maw divided the world into "Church People" and "non Church People". She was pretty inclusive since "Church People" contained more than just Pilgrim Holiness folks. But not Roman Catholics, which isn't as bad as it sounds since I doubt if she knew more than a handful of RC's in her life. There certainly weren't any in Conklintown or O'Toole and probably not in Jenkinjones. There were two Catholic families in Anawalt and Mam-maw once said of Mrs. Sante, who taught second grade at Anawalt Junior High School, "Mrs. Sante is like church people...." She'd say, "Those Thompkins girls used to be church people" or, 'does that boy you play with come from Church People?" I'm kinda the same way--but for me the world is divided into "Pet people" and people who don't have pets. I don't get people who aren't "Pet people", they aren't like me....

The two sayings I've been thinking about recently are these:

"You have to be bigger than the weather...." When any of us would complain that it's too hot, too cold, to rainy, too dry, she would shake her head and say "You've got to be bigger than the weather...go out and play (or) go read a book (or) write someone a letter..." which ever was the medicine for how the weather ailed us.

The other one was "You're old enough that your wants won't hurt you...." That came whenever one of us complained that there was something we didn't have that we really 'wanted'....I still whisper than one to myself from time to time, mostly when I see a Lexus or a Jaguar .

Lord help me, if Mam-maw could hear me say, "It's too cold and snowy, I want spring to come...."

I can hear her delight in stringing together two aphorisms: "Jimmy Gordon, you're old enough that your wants won't hurt you and you need to be bigger than the weather."

I'm not sure if Episcopalians qualified as 'church people' but since my cousin Mejol and I both ended up Anglican and since Mam-maw's grandchildren, willful, want-ful and whiny as they were, ultimately could do no wrong in her eyes, we probably would make the "church people" cut....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.