While looking at photos of an incredible event we catered at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, this shot of a beautiful seating vignette reminded me of my grandmother “Mamaw.” Not for the reason you might think. Sure, she would have loved the classic furniture style, and the lovely flowers of Cheekwood Gardens would have delighted her. She loved her rose bushes.
Her name was Dorothy. She one of the kindest, most Godly, and hardworking people I’ve known. She raised four children and opened a restaurant during the Great Depression Era.
Seeing this photo of furniture on the lawn in the full sun reminded me of something she did, that as kids, amused my cousins and me. She would take cushions from her sofas and all the family bedding and place them into the blazing sun on the lawn. As children it was hard to not sneak in a jump or two. She explained it was one of her ways to clean, and I can still remember how fresh they smelled.
Through this recent pandemic I learned of the Spanish flu of 1918 that was so deadly. My grandmother was a teenager living with her parents in Memphis. Though she never spoke it, from old newspaper articles I learned that Memphis and Nashville had been hit hard and suffered a lot of death. From the same article, I read that doctors by accident found that the sun had an antibacterial effect. Because hospitals were over capacity, they had to move patients outside. The people outside recovered faster.
What I had always thought was a “Mamaw Eccentricity” was really a healthy habit likely born out of love to protect her children. I’ve thought how difficult things must have been for her family during that time. I wondered why she never talked about this with her children or grandchildren. For a while it made me sad thinking of the hardships she faced, but then I’ve remembered her lighthearted view of life’s trouble. She could do this because of her faith in God. She knew she could not teach us how to maneuver every problem life threw at us, but she could teach us to put our faith in the Lord.
Thanks, Mamaw! Happy Mother’s Day!