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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bell

People have changed over the years. There was a time when the sight of a family of ten in an Oldsmobile, with a trunk full of chickens, broken down on the side of the highway would hardly seem strange. Today, well cars are not that big , but it would make you think. This is how another one of our vacations to east Texas ended.
My Grandma Bell, the giver of said chickens, was the strongest woman I ever knew. Her given name was Rosie Bell Burnett Patridge Woodson Harris. When she died she was buried with a husband on each side, and her surviving spouse was to be buried somewhere near by. She loved her children and they worshiped her.
My last summer with Grandma Bell, was special. There were always so many people around, I don't think I ever spent time alone with her, until then.
Now, I always had a little car sickness on these trips but this year, well I threw up from Plainview to Sulphur Springs. And it continued after we arrived. My brother, Steve, made things worse, as usual, by describing the chicken soup my grandmother made, as having the skin, beaks and toes in it. It may have, she wouldn't have wanted to waist any part of a good chicken. Well ,with the heat humidity and throwing up, I ended up in the Sulphur Springs hospital. I was lying in that hospital bed, with my eyes closed, so sick I thought I was dying. When suddenly I felt like someone was watching me. I opened my eyes and my brother, Joel was standing there, and I swear this is the truth, he said "You ruined our vacation." No kidding , he said that. And I had five others just like him.
When I was released from the hospital my parents were exhausted, so Grandma Bell let them sleep and she took care of me. We talked about her life and my daddy, and how I should always act like a lady. A lady should never ever prop her feet up, even if she has been hoeing cotton and taking care of babies all day. That would make her appear to be ungrateful.
My sister used to tell me Grandma Bell loved me because I looked like my daddy. I know she loved my brother Greg because he looked like my daddy. And She loved my daddy because he looked like his daddy, the love of her life. That's what I learned that day.
When I think of her now, I think of porch swings, and chickens running in the yard. Then I think of sweet ice tea and blue willow dishes. But mostly I'm just proud to be the granddaughter of a strong Irish woman named Bell.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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