I wrote a while back about my great grandmother, Grandma Smith. Here is an excerpt:
"Many years ago in the mill village of Sargent Georgia if you needed any sort of doctoring, medicine, or poultices for injuries, you went to see "Aunt Becky" down by the railroad tracks.
Aunt Becky was my great grandmother Becky Smith. She was my grandmother Zeddie Perry's mother. To direct family she was Grandma, to others in the family she was Grandma Smith, to everybody else, she was Aunt Becky.
Grandma Smith ruled the family as a stern matriarch, she was known to be unforgiving in her rules for behavior, yet she was a fair woman. She planted all sorts of herbs, flowers, and trees to take care of people. A strong believer in the healing power of the body and mind, she was well versed in herbalism and knew exactly what plants to use for anything. "
The other day I was walking down the road and thought about her as I stood and looked at the magnolia tree she planted in my brother's front yard. I had taken a couple of trees from underneath the magnolia, there are a few growing under the main canopy. Struggling for light makes them grow very straight and perfect for carving. I went back to my place, got the kawasaki mule and headed back over to get one more... I keep the kawasaki loaded with tools so that it's a "portable tree removal station."
I began carving the magnolia piece as thoughts of the stories of her life flew around in my mind. My grandmother told me that she loved to walk around out here in the woods and check on all the herbs she had planted. She had a main garden, but also kept several little "secret spots" all over the woods where she planted her best ingredients. I can hear granny telling me.. "She always said that you can mother the plants in an orderly fashion, but god knew how to take care of them best..."
Sitting on the porch carving I thought about what she would like as a walking stick to aid her in making her rounds through the trees. I never really talked to her, as I was very young when she became bed ridden from old age and illness. In those days I was afraid of her... I began to think about the types of conversations we would have.
I had a long, meaningful discussion with her while I was carving this piece and actually found myself asking her, "What do you think about this Grandma?" The response I could imagine was, "It looks good child, just keep pouring your soul into it and you won't go wrong..."