I just came across one of the most beautiful pieces of writing that I've read in a while. First sentences matter, and this blog post began "I wore a wedding dress to my grandmother's death bed." As Shannon went on to recall memories of her grandmother's life and death, all I could think of was, "Did she call her Mammaw?"
She talks about learning to drive in her grandmother's big 'ole Buick. I didn't learn to drive Mammaw's big Texas Cadillac, but my memories my grandmother are steeped in her cars. The first I remember must have been a Buick. I don't remember the car itself, but the 8-Track that came with it, featuring songs like "On the top of the world looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find. . . ."
One Cadillac I remember was dark gray with dark gray leather interior. I think that the Texas legislation requiring everyone in the front seat to wear seat belts must have been passed while she had that car. My law-abiding grandmother put a post-it note on the steering well to remind her to buckle up. She was less concerned with the safety behind the ruling than with accidentally breaking the law by driving around untethered.
But the one that I will forever picture in Mammaw's carport is the pink one. Yes, Mammaw drove a pink Cadillac. Actually, it wasn't really pink. The color was called Desert Sands, and if we were anywhere near my grandfather, we'd better make sure that we were not calling it pink, because there was no way that he would consent to being the owner of a pink car. But when the sun hit the beige glittery paint, it had an undertone of a coral-y pink color. So we dubbed it the Pink Cadillac.
Like Shannon, I remember what she taught me. On one weekend visit, she took my sister, my cousin and I into her room to sit on her big King-sized bed as she gave us a notecard filled with her neat schoolteacher handwriting. It was the words to the Lord's prayer. She also helped to teach us Bridge and Canasta, so that we could join the adults at the card table set up in the living room.
I didn't wear my wedding dress to Mammaw's death bed. She made it to my wedding. She was becoming frail, and a bit addled, but she was there, and I was so glad. Not too long thereafter, they moved a hospital bed into her living room to make it easier to care for her. She passed away about a year after I married. Terry didn't get to spend that much time with her, so he didn't know all of this about her. But I remember. I know. And now you do too.