Monday, March 28, 2016

Grandma's Hands

My Grandmother, Annie Lizzie Hazel (left) sisters Hattie (center) Luala (right)

My Grandmother, Annie Lizzie Hazel was an incredible woman. I know most people think that their grandmothers are great, and I am no exception. Her story has been one of the most powerful influences in my life.

She was from South Carolina originally, but came to settle in Augusta Georgia, where she married, gave birth and raised my mother and her four siblings. Her husband went on to glory one day after suffering a heat stroke while working in their fields. But she had five children to take care of so she did the only thing that she could, she went to work.

 My Grandmother's life wasn't easy, which was the norm at that time. With a fifth grade education, she did what they called back then "days work", now we call them house keepers. She also worked as a cook in a restaurant in Augusta. Yes, yes, yes, my Grandmother could cook! She gave love through her food.

After I got married and became a mother I remember sitting next to my Grandmother on a visit back home and she said to me, "Can you cook?" I very proudly said, "Yes Ma'am, I think I've gotten pretty good." She then asked me, "Can you make rolls?" I said, No Ma'am". She politely then said, "Then you can't cook." We both laughed. A few years later I was at home in my kitchen and I decided to try and make rolls. So of course I call my Grandmother. I asked her to tell me the recipe. She told me that she couldn't tell me, she would have to show me. See I didn't realize at that time that she didn't use recipes, she just knew what to put in and went by the look, smell and feel of things. So I told her the next time I was home, she would have to teach me. She said of course she would...she never got a chance to teach me, the next time that I saw her later that year she was laying in her bed in the Maria Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dayton Ohio. I arrived just in time to be present when she went home to glory. My Grandmother passed in 1999.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was sitting in my kitchen trying to figure out how I could save money. It's gotten to be expensive to feed a family of six so I try to cut corners anyway that I can. It was if I could hear my Grandmother's voice clear as a bell, "Make some rolls". It made sense, my family eats a good amount of bread and if I could learn to make rolls, surely I could make bread. So I set to the task.

While I was following the recipe that I had found, I thought about Annie, talked to her, and talked to God about her. I miss her every single day. She is by far one of the strongest women that I have been blessed to have known. She did whatever she had to do to make a life for herself and all of children. She taught them not just how to survive, but to live. She taught them how to keep God in front of them, and she taught them how to stick together and love one another. She taught them by example what it was to sacrifice to help make sure that your children had what they needed. But most of all, she taught them how to pray.

My Sister and I spent the weekends with my Grandmother often when we were younger. My mother worked nights as a nurse and my father worked two jobs, as a teacher and at a local restaurant in the kitchen. There wasn't a night that when by that I wouldn't see her kneeling on the floor by her bedside praying. She would thank God for His grace and mercy, she would praise Him, and then she would begin To pray for all of us by name...I have no doubt that her prayers met God's ears, and they helped keep me from many dangers seen and unseen.

My Grandmother's hands, worked in the cotton fields, the cleaned housed, they played with her children, and tended them when they were sick. Her hands helped raise all of us, her hands made food to nourish us, but most of all her hands prayed for us.

Thank you Annie, I will continue to miss you until the day that I see you again, and I WILL make you some rolls!

Much Love,