Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Woke up this Morning

I woke up this morning...now that seems like a pretty good lead in line...and this may sound, well inappropriate , but it is oh so true...my grandmother (Nancy Douglas, we called her Mammy) had a favorite saying, and it was "everyday above ground is a good one." Being a Southern Girl (born and bred) I have thousands of those little tidbits, but that one has always been my favorite. It showed the grit in Mammy's craw that made her the person she was. A Teacher by profession, a Farmer by necessity, and a survivor by choice. I say by choice because she never gave up or gave in. She had a hard life that wasn't made any easier by the times she lived in or the health she fell victim to. But she struggled, along side my Grandfather, Dwight Douglas (we called him Daddy Dwight) rearing three children, teaching school, helping run a farm, keeping the books for their farm and writing out the checks for the farm workers at the end of each week. She had to have a goiter removed when she was relatively young, I believe in her forties .(but you can't take that to the bank, I was a kid at the time and all the grandmothers and great aunts were of an age that never seemed to change. They all looked the same to me from one day to the next, never aging in my childish eyes.) She suffered and beat lung cancer and uterine cancer. People in the South of the 30's, 40's and 50's were plagued with oddly different ailments like Goiter from lack of iodine in the diet, and other noxious little disorders that no one hears or knows about or even cares about these days. One that I remember from my childhood was called "Ground Itch". It was actually hook worms that got into your bare feet from running around in the yard after a rain when the hot sun brought them to the surface, so tiny you couldn't see them, so tiny they had no trouble invading the soles of young feet. The only thing that cleared up ground itch was a heavy spraying of what I recall being ether on the soles of the feet to freeze and kill the little varmints. It only took one dose of Ground Itch and it's ghastly cure for me to heed the "keep your shoes on" warning in the spring rains. For some reason, late summers you were safe. So Mammy had many jobs, wore many hats and had much to contend with. She was not a quitter nor a bellyacher and couldn't stand to hear anyone complain about how they felt and often recited the "man with no feet" tale from a Bible tract that she kept in the folds of her big Church Bible. You know the one, I longed for new shoes till I met the man who had no feet...So when the danged flare hit me last week (and lasted longer than usual) I started thinking about Mammy and how she fought off self pity by finding someone in worse shape than she herself was and realized how that great spirit is still teaching me today. I like to think that the steel in my backbone was genetically placed there by all my forebears who struggled and made it safely to shore. I hope my children will be so blessed, and so far I think they are. They are not whiners...they are not quitters...they just keep on keeping on...and they keep their good humor. The nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

36 comments:

Sandy Kessler said...

Great tribute sandy

Jeni said...

See what I mean here? "Ask and ye shall receive" and I did that of you and presto magic, upon returning to my reader, there's this post by Sandi! Love your posts about your family and "southern life" as they always show lots and lots of good old-fashioned country-style wisdom.
Peace.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Please don't visit me today. I'll be mortified if you do. Such a Whinestein I can be!

Loved reading about your grandmother and imagining what a woman of character she was.

Yikes about the worms...yucky, yucky. We do get swimmer's itch sometimes, which I suppose is just as ghastly.

Lehners in France said...

A lovely post for your "Mammy." Glad you're feeling better. Debs x

Donna said...

Great post Sandi!! I've been vindicated!!!LOL...The part about Ground Itch!!! My daughter Always said I made that up!!! I brought her in here and made her read this!!! THANK YOU!!!LOLOL...hughugs

Katherines Dream said...

A wonderful tribute. And what very true and wise words....
I have been a bad blogger lately...things have just taken me away from what I would like to be doing.....you know... family and things...but I feel so much better today and reading this post has touched me somewhat!
Carol x

Mima said...

That fighting spirit is an amazing thing, I have times when I fight, but also other times when I find that really hard to do, like you especially with a flare (down patch for me). I really admire people with such courage about the way that they face life, my grandparents are very like that, they have faced down so many demons in their time.

That ground itch sounds horrible, I'm not surprised that was a lesson that you learned pretty quickly!!

Lib said...

A Great Post! Sounds like we shared the same Family!:o)
Our SOuthern Ladies were strong !
Have a great day!
Blessins',Lib

Pam said...

I hope you are feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Ground itch YIKES sounds terrible. Perhaps that is why I was never allowed to go barefoot in the summer. I never did believe you could get worms from going barefoot, I thought it was because my Mum was just a neatness nut.

Guess my Northern Mum knew best.

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

Hello! We're back from The Vacation. Sorry to hear about your flare up. Hope all that settles down soon.

I remember the thing with the worms, too. 'Course I was too young to get the difference between rumming around barefoot after a spring rain vs. a summer rain. Good to know why it was okay to do sometimes, but not others. ha

I'll be talking to you soon!
Love ya'll,
Sissy

Akelamalu said...

What a great tribute to your Mother, you've obviously inherited her backbone!

Hairline Fracture said...

Your Mammy sounds like a wonderful woman--a lot like my great-grandmother, whom I never knew, but who is the source for many stories in our family. I like the part about reminding yourself you have her genes in you & your kids.

Abbie said...

I don't know about your Mammy, but this post is EXACTLY how I envisoned you. Strong, proud southern belle.

Lee said...

Glad to see you feeling up to blogging and such. Your Mammy seems to have been one of the kind we learned to respect and wish we saw more of.

Be well, Sandi!

Peace!

justabeachkat said...

Sounds like your Mammy would be proud of you. You are strong in many ways and you don't stay down for long. I'm so glad you're feeling better. I've missed you.

Hugs!
Kat

Seamus said...

It is so wonderful to have such memories of your grandmother and her spirit!

Jeni said...

Remember the movie "Christmas Story?" Well if you stop by my place, you can see I just gave you a "major award" so come by and pick it up, please!

Dianne said...

Keep on keeping on! It sounds so simple as a saying but is actually an art.

the art of balance and strength and tolerance and empathy and just plain grit!

thanks for visiting me. I love your blog. Hound's story really touched me and the photos on your sidebar are wonderful.

So nice to make a new friend - thanks to jeni :)

Mary said...

Sandi
Hope you are feeling better.I try on my bad days to say the pain reminds me I still have a life to live and thank goodness i don't still have to go to work!!

Maggie May said...

Hi Sandi........ You've made me itch now!!!!!
Good post! Good blog! Thanks for calling over. I have been here before, though!

Christine of Epiphany said...

We didn't have ground itch, thank God~ or I would've had it all the time, I could never keep my shoes on in Summer!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Very well written. Grandmothers played an important part when I started building my website and show. Take a look at the recipe section of my website- click on Grandma's Retro Recipes. I think you will really enjoy it. I love the saying "Keep on keeping on".
www.dishingwithdebbie.com

Heather said...

Did I know you had RA?? I'm so sorry, sweets. I have RA too and it's not fun. If you ever want to talk, email me.

I haven't ever heard of those worm things, and I lived in south Louisiana where you get all kinds of fun things from the mud. Good times.

Jo Beaufoix said...

That was wonderful Sandi, she sounds like a fabulous lady and I've no doubt you take after her. :D

Sandy said...

Hi Sandi,
Yet another great post full of lots of memories!
I hope you are feeling better.
Take care
Sandy :)

smilnsigh said...

A lovely tribute to those who came before you. Still sorry you have these flare-ups, which require you to dig so deeply for dealing with them... {{{{{{Sandi}}}}}}

And also sorry you are still in drought. As you said in a comment in my blog.

Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh blog

Country Cottage Chic said...

Loved reading that - and you're right....some people whine far too much these days. I wonder what mammy would say about these softies?

Jules~ said...

That is a wonderful story of remembering. Your Granny sounds very special and akin in character to my grandmother.
I like that saying "everyday above ground is a good one."

i beati said...

small heartfelt award at my place . Come and get it if you like sandy

JanaBanana said...

i love reading your posts like these...i would love to go back to certain era's

joan said...

Your a strong woman Sandi and your Grandma is probably smiling at you now. I never knew that about ground itch but it's really interesting and I'll keep my shoes on. LOL I know I told you before but I love your stories.

Merisi said...

I will need some more time to properly read and let sink in all you have written while I was absent, just wanted to leave you a little hello und hug,
M.

Jamie Dawn said...

I'm sure that steel will be passed on and on over the years. You sound like one tough cookie to me!
Your Mammy sounds like she was tougher than tough.
Keeping on during the hard times is often difficult, but you really pegged it by saying the part there at the end about keeping a sense of humor.
I'm sorry you have flare ups, which I'm thinking refer to your arthritis. What I am glad about, is your attitude that keeps you focused ahead and trying to look beyond to a better day.
I wish you better health and a never ending sense of humor.

Susie Q said...

I know that your Mammy would be proud of you...heck. she IS proud of you!
You were in my prayers and, as always, in my heart. I am so glad you are feeling better. I adore you Sandi.

Reading about your Grandmother was wonderful. It was a sweet gift from you to us. Thank you for that dear friend.

Congratulations on all your awards! No one deserves these more than you Sandi.
You are a treasure.

Gene would have loved meetiing you...keep a look out. They are doing book signings all over the US. You never know!!

Love to you,
Sue

david mcmahon said...

You are eloquent on any subject, Sandy.

Sorry I've been AWOL all week.