Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ms Lucy

Maw Maw was 104 years old (well, 103, but we were just about to celebrate 104 when she passed away).
Lucy Bateman.  Born in 1907.  She was my 'unofficial' grandmother.  She was part of my life for the past 35 years.  I married into her, and my own grandmother's have moved on many, many years ago.  So she was it - and I loved every part of her.
Maw Maw lived her entire life in Lousiana.  She outlived 2 of her 4 children, and her husband.  She accepted me from the beginning - and that was a tall order for her family.  In 1976 when we met, I was a Californian, with long hair.  Not exactly the small town, slower paced, country grown stock she was accustomed to.  I didn't know anything about farming, hunting, or the Lousiana outback lifestyle.  She explained to me how to enjoy fresh cream (from the cow), molasses over ice cream in the evening, bisquits, grits, rolls (which are NOT bisquits), canned fruits (my favorite became figs), and just sitting on the porch - enjoying the day.  The first hummingbird I ever saw was from her kitchen window - it hovered around this red gizmo that she filled with 'sugar water'.  I'd sit for hours drinking her coffee waiting for the next bird - amazed - it was so close, and they moved so fast they stood still - I couldn't see their wings they moved so fast.  And the coffee - wow.  If you've ever been to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans - the coffee they serve there is the same coffee Maw Maw made - well, hers was way better - but the Cafe tries.

Everything back then was new to me and she never laughed at me - she just calmly explained things like 'venison is real meat Scot - it won't hurt you'.  Once I came in through the side door to her house and said - 'Maw Maw - there's a deer hanging upside down in the front yard - I think it's dead!'.  Calmly, she said, 'oh, that's just the way we do things around here - don't worry'.  She would reach into the oven, at 400 degrees, and just pull out pots and pans with her bare hands, and set them gently on top of the stove.  She was a master cook, with no documentation.  If you asked her for a recipe, or how much salt to put in, she would say - 'just a pinch' or 'about that much' or 'just enough, but not too much'.  And that was it.
Every once in awhile she would sort of apologize to me, as if she was concerned that I might think things weren't quite up to 'city snuff' for me.  I loved that in her.  Here I was, thinking I wasn't good enough or couldn't measure up to her standards, and she was somehow concerned in the same way.  Hard to explain - but that is true humility and love.  She was an elegant lady to the end.   

I never actually saw her go to bed.  I went to bed late and she would be up, then I would get up early in the morning and she was there, with a coffee pot in hand.  And, somehow, in spite of that - she always looked good - real good.
She was always the Rock that held everything down and together in the family.  She knew everyone and everyone knew her, and she had earned the respect that everyone gave her.     

There are too many great memories to mention here -            

It won't be the same without Maw Maw - but we'll see her soon - and I can't wait for some early morning hot fresh rolls with butter and figs, along with her special coffee!