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Granny’s House Dress

August 6, 2006

I’ve heard most all my life that I look like my Granny Hicks.

She was a portly woman who always wore soft cotton house dresses with bibbed aprons. Her hair was always pinned back or balled up in the back. Her eyes were brown, her hair was brown and she laughed alot.

A few months ago, I bought myself this blue gingham house dress…basically because it looked comfortable…and every time I put it on, indeed I do look like my Granny Hicks.

About 15 years ago, I was visiting with Granny at her house on Mountain View Road in Benton. Seems like everytime I visited her, she was sitting in “her” rocker. When she would get up out of the chair to do “whatever” — get a cup of iced water, turn on the fan, or answer the phone — she’d support her back with one hand and then kind of waddle at first as she sought to accomplish her task.

Again, on some days, indeed I do look like my Granny Hicks.

In any event, I first noticed this growing resemblance about 15 years ago while visiting her. She sat in her rocker, and I sat across from her in a similar rocker. Now, I’m not by any means making fun of my Granny…she was a fine lady. Very industrious and practical…and lived a good and simple life.

She sat there and all her “positives” had slowly gone South over the years. Gravity was her enemy…and I knew in that instant…”this same force would be my enemy.” And slowly but surely, what once served as my “crowning perkiness” is now more like saddle bags to carry around FOREVER!

It’s all good though!

I wish I had a bit more of my Granny Hicks. Remember how I said she was “industrious?” One year, she made over 2,000 quilts which she sold for a whopping $15 each. Can you believe that?

She’d get up in the night and just go to work…quilting. There are many people around these parts who are warm at night…due to my Granny’s insomnia.

My Granny Hicks, always seemed like a jovial woman. She laughed alot. I never saw her cry, but there was always a bit of sadness showing on her face. As I think about her now, I can’t help but wonder what it was that may have been a trouble to her heart.

They say I too have a readable face. If I’m mad, you’ll know it. If I’m sad, you’ll know it.

I remember when I was in high school, troubled by the dysfunctional state of my family, I decided one day that I would not let anyone know about my brokenness. I’d put on a mask and be happy if it killed me. Afterall, everybody else had a “normal” family…no need to let them know how bad my family was, right?

So with all my heart, and nerve and sinew, I pretended to have it all together in hopes of being acceptable…in hopes of no one thinking there was anything wrong with me…in hopes that maybe sooner or later, things would get better in my life and my family. For a time, I lived a double-life…but soon there was a breaking point.

I wonder if my Granny ever had a “breaking point.” I wonder if she had anyone…ANYONE…with whom she could share what was really going on in her heart. My grandpa was a rough, cob of a man who drank and made whiskey, cut pulp-wood and hardly ever said a word to anyone. I never knew her to have a friend, other than just a gossipy neighbor or some one she made quilts for.

I also never heard her speak of God or Jesus…

I wonder…what caused that disconcerning look on her face. And I wonder if anyone ever cared enough to ask.

In addition to my physical resemblance to Granny Hicks…I guess I have some other resemblances too.

That readable face tends to cause concern for others more often than it does me.
Sometimes, I am just deep in thought and forget that I’m supposed to be smiling to make everyone happy.
Sometimes, I do indeed feel deep emotion that I’ve not worked through…and I forget to be smiling to make everyone happy.
Sometimes, I just don’t feel like smiling to make everyone happy.

I think probably Granny was lonesome. Grandpa died years before she did…but she had to be lonesome even when he was around. I know she liked to talk on the phone but I doubt she ever trusted any one enough to be too transparent.

Perhaps…that readable face was the extent of her transparency.

I wonder…if people are hurting inside…for whatever reason…and they have no one to talk to…no one to ask…no one to comfort them…is there anything else they can do except let it wear on their face.

I really admire people who are able to “conceal” what’s really going on inside.
Yes, my Granny Hicks…she was a simple woman. She wore simple clothes…soft cotton dresses with bibbed aprons…and she wore her hair pinned back in a bun for years.

I wish I had taken the time…the opportunity to find out what she did with her mask.

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