Adventures in Alabama: Gran's 90th
Our primary reason for making the long journey home was to celebrate my Gran's 90th birthday. Technically, she did not roll over to the start of the 10th decade mark until July 5, but we decided to celebrate early on July 30. Over sixty of her friends and family, spanning several generations, came out to dig into some cake and punch. My personal favorite part of the lavish food bar was the bacon cheese ring from Naman's. Sound weird? You haven't tried it. I gained my first five pounds of the trip eating that.
Back to Gran...
Gran, known originally as Edith Massey, was born in 1917. That's the year that the United States entered World War I. And that means Gran has seen a lot of history in her life-- the roaring twenties, the Great Depression, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the baby boom, the birth of rock and roll, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the fall of the Berlin wall, Desert Storm, September 11. She saw the rise of communism and the fall of communism. She saw the evolution from phonograph to boombox to walkman to iPod. She saw the annual Christmas toy craze move from Raggedy Ann to the viewmaster 3-D viewer to Mr. Potato Head to Rubik's Cube to Cabbage Patch Kids to Tickle Me Elmo.
She married my Granddaddy, James Berry, in 1943. Granddaddy was in the Air Force, so Gran followed him to St. Johns, Newfoundland; Holyoke, Massachusetts; Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana; and Mobile, Alabama.
She's been known to my friends for the past several years as "GranBerry."
Here are just a few of the reasons why I love Gran:
- She was always my back seat buddy on road trips- both short and long.
- She was my partner in crime when we needed a "coke break" on a long school-shopping day. Mom wouldn't make a coke stop for me, but she would do it for Gran. I could also count on her to hint to mom that we needed to make a trip to Dairy Queen (pronounced Day-ree Queen)
- She makes the best cherry pie. Period. And the best chocolate pie, pecan pie, carrot cake, lemon pie, and pound cake.
- She enjoys a good, funny movie.
- She has a servant's heart and took/takes care of everybody- from her husband to her children to her grandchildren to the kids across the street. She was still cooking 3 hot meals a day until just a few years ago.
- When I brought fellow camp counselors over for lunch during the summer, they were blown away by the spread of food. As Julie once said, "This is better than Thanksgiving."
- She gave me the money to pay the tax on my Star Wars tie-fighter toy. I had saved my 50 cents per week allowance for months to purchase the tie-fighter, but I had not taken tax into account. When I proudly approached the counter with new toy in hand, she saved my from extreme disappointment by pulling out the extra dollar I needed.
- She loves sports, and I think she attended every t-ball game and softball game I ever played. If not all then most. She also endured countless painful dance recitals, piano recitals, theatrical productions, spelling bees, and graduation ceremonies.
- She bought me my first Stryper album- The Yellow and Black Attack.
- She let me watch the Dukes of Hazzard when we spent the night at her house.
- She prayed for me. I remember spending the night at her house as a little kid and watching her pull her verse of the day out of the "Daily Bread" box, read her Bible, and do her Sunday School lesson. I know her prayers for me have been answered, are being answered, will be answered, and they will outlive her to reach generations beyond today.