A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mamaw

A parade of six deer just moseyed by outside the window. Does and their babies, circling around to the water tanks, taking the long way. A couple of hours ago the turkey hens, who returned yesterday after being gone since last Spring, went by in the opposite direction heading to the feeder. I counted 36. This morning I threw some milo out by the deer feeder for them. Even after their absence they know the routine; they go from their feeder in the back to the deer feeder in the front to the water tanks.

Rickie and I spent all day yesterday working, burning brush and cutting firewood. So today I've spent most of the day in the easy chair by the fireplace, reading and downloading Paul Thorn songs. All work and no play, you know.

Darkness is settling over us. There is a sliver of moon outside the window, what Sarah used to call a "fingernail moon" when she was little. Paul Thorn is softly singing When the Long Road Ends. The fire is flickering in the fireplace and threatening to go out. I've got the Texans playoff game on TV with the sound down and they're threatening to go out too.

Today is my Mamaw's birthday. She was born in 1901 and has been gone since 1993. They say that there is a special bond that skips a generation and I had that with my Mamaw. She was a woman of simple wants; her family was the center of her life.

When I was a little girl she worked in a print shop downtown, operating a mysterious machine that cut and bound notepaper tablets. I remember going to see her there. She sat right inside the front door on an elevated platform behind the big machine. I thought she was amazing.

I never walked into a room where she was that her face did not light up to see me. I don't recall her ever saying an unkind word to me. She lived with my parents and took care of the home, doing the cooking, laundry, and being there for the kids. She bought my school clothes and every Easter outfit I had growing up. At different times she kept my boys for me when I was at work. When I was a little girl we lived in a duplex with my grandparents on one side and I always went to her house every night after supper and stayed until bedtime. When I was far from home she wrote me letters that I still have. I take them out and read them when I need a dose of Mamaw love.

I left home when I was 17 years old. I am often the "odd man out" in my family. As with most people, the call I hear is my own. I miss most gatherings of my family because I am far away from the family core. I live a different way of life than most of my family and the influences that shaped me are not the same as the ones that shaped them.  That's true of everyone, I believe. But with my Mamaw I was never the odd man out. I always had the feeling that if she could have made me any way she wanted to, that she would have made me just the way I was.

The little girl in the tree with her straight hair cut short and overalls on has become the sixtyish woman with her straight hair cut short and jeans and work boots on. I still like playing in the dirt and I don't much care what people think of me. I learned a long time ago that you have to be true to yourself and take the consequences of that if you are to have any peace in this world.

But what I wouldn't give to walk into a room and see my Mamaw smile at me and know that, in her eyes, I turned out just the way she hoped I would.


  1. Momma Moak-Your writing is so beautiful. When I read it I hear your voice. You have a way with words. This made me cry. I think your Mamaw would be proud.

    1. Thank you, Rebekah. Now you have made me cry. Love you much.

  2. Sweet post Sue, I didn't grow up around my grandparents (never met my Dad's parents) it's a long way from Odessa to Lake Charles, La. I think kids should be able to spend as much time as possible around their grandparents and I tried to do that with my own kids.