My Grandmother, on my mother’s side of the family, had a powerful personality. Although, she never had much money she had a way about her of conveying importance. There fore, she could walk into a bank and borrow money on her strong personality and appearance, even though she did not have the ability to pay the loan back. But grandma never worried about technical details like that, she honestly thought she would find some way to pay the money back.
This particular story I am going to tell about is when she bought a vacuum cleaner, from a traveling salesman, on the credit. Grandma suddenly realized she could not make the payments. So, one day she looked out the window and there came the vacuum cleaner salesman down the sidewalk. She suddenly remembered she had never paid a penny on the vacuum cleaner. So, she quickly hid behind the piano and told Aunt Mamie to tell him she was not here. It was a cold day and the man asked if he could come in and warm by the fire. Aunt Mamie did not know what to tell him so she hollered “Oh Mama, he caught me in a lie.” The stove was located at the end of the piano. So, when you stood warming your hands, you could see behind the piano. The man was warming his hands, and he looked and saw grandma behind the piano. He said, “Oh, hello Mrs. Garvin, what are you doing behind the piano?” She said, “Oh, I decided the back of the piano needed to be dusted.” Grandma talked him into letting her keep the vacuum cleaner. I doubt if she ever paid a penny on the vacuum cleaner.
I have so many fond memories of my grandmother. I don’t want to make it sound like she was some kind of a crook. She was a deeply religious person. She founded at least two churches in her lifetime. She never intended to cheat anyone. She actually thought that someway she would be able to pay for these things she would buy on the credit. She went to church every Sunday and she read her bible regularly. I remember the wonderful Sunday dinners she cooked. Nobody could fry a chicken as good as her. Nobody could make a vanilla crème pie as good as hers. She made it totally from scratch, both the filling and crust. She went through the great depression, and she cooked whatever she had. She is the only person I have ever seen make a pinto bean pie. It tasted just like a pecan crème pie. She could make the best orange muffins you have ever eaten. If you came in while she was cooking a meal, you might as well get ready for her to fix you a plate. It did not matter whether you were hungry or not. It did not matter how many times you told her you did not want a plate, you got a plate.
Although she was a great cook, she loved the outdoors. She would much rather being raking and burning leaves than doing housework. When I was a teenager going to high school, I would come by to visit her and my aunts. It would be after dark and grandma would still be out in the yard burning leaves. If the weather was stormy, grandma would stand out in the dark watching the lightning and clouds to make sure a bad storm did not slip up on us. She was in a bad tornado when she was a kid, so she had terrible fear of bad weather. I think back on all the memories that grandma gave me. I can still smell the leaves burning, and I can still see her standing for hours at a time, in the dark, watching the storms develop.
Oh, what good memories those are.