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My great-Grandmother was a bad ass.

End of discussion.

She was more of a bad ass than I’ll ever be. As a matter of fact, she may have been the biggest bad ass in my entire family.

Okay, you may be wondering, “What makes you think of your great-grandmother like that?” so here’s the story:

It was the summer of 1995. I was 9 years old, and was spending the day with my Papa Earl while my mom worked. We were out having a fun day, driving in Papa’s truck running errands, when we decided to go see Grandma (We always called my great-grandma Grandma. Just so you guys don’t get confused). She lived just next door to Papa Earl, so it’s not like it was a huge trip. We pull up in her driveway and, as she was known to do, she was on her front porch swinging enjoying the beautiful summer day. She loved to swing. As a matter of fact, she had two swings: One on the front porch and one down in the yard. She greeted us both with a hug and a kiss, and we decided to go enjoy the front lawn swing. Even though I believe it was big enough for all three of us, Papa Earl and I sat on the swing, and Grandma sat in a chair next to us. We were talking about whatever we were talking about, when I saw something long, skinny, and green slithering down the chain links of the swing. I immediately told Papa Earl that I thought I saw a snake. He looked at it, told me it was a twig, and we went on about our business. Three minutes later, this “twig” was slithering again. At that point I jumped up, yelled “SNAKE” and ran away. My yelling, and the revelation of an effin snake, caused Papa Earl to yell a choice expletive, and took off running as well (I say running when we both just got a few feet away from the swing. But it’s my story and I’ll tell it however I want). Grandma, as calm and cool as anyone I’d ever seen, GRABS THE SNAKE, THROWS IT DOWN, GRABS A HOE, AND KILLS THE SNAKE. She then sits back down in her chair and goes back to talking while Papa Earl (a World War II Veteran mind you) and I need to go home and change our pants.

Bad. Ass.

We lost Grandma 8 years ago today. She was 99 years old when she passed, just 3 months shy of turning 100. Every year when I’m reminded of her passing, that’s the story I think of. Once I think of that story, I’m then reminded of so many amazing things. I can still taste her macaroni and cheese (the very best anyone on God’s Earth has ever made. Fight me). I remember how for every special occasion in mine or my cousins’ lives, she would make us these delicious sugar cookies (not all of my memories of her are about food). I very fondly remember one time when it was the dog days of summer and had to be around 98 degrees (or maybe N*SYNC) {C’mon, you know you laughed}. My cousin Nikki and I walked from my grandparents house to Grandma’s house. The three of us sat in the living room and Grandma had this enormous heater on. It didn’t matter that I was pouring sweat, she was going to have her heater on. I remember all the family holiday celebrations we had at her house and how those memories are some of my very favorite. I remember how her attic had to be haunted and how none of us great-grandchildren ever dared to step foot up there lest we be eaten by whatever was up there. She was a wonderful woman who I’m glad to have had 24 years with.

Grandma, or Ms. Vernon as the townsfolk called her, was born on June 11th, 1910. Think about that – Grandma lived through World War 1, 2, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the war we are still currently in. She lived through Presidents William Howard Taft into President Barack Obama’s first term. She had three kids with her husband, who passed away in the 1970’s. She never remarried after he passed, and until the final years of her life, she lived by herself and took care of herself. She never learned to drive, so once a week someone would take her into town so she could buy groceries (My God, how adorable and so Little House on the Prairie we were). My uncles told me stories of how she would go out into the barn, wring chicken’s heads off, and then serve that chicken for dinner. She lost a child and a grandchild, yet she continued to be the same loving, God-fearing woman through all her grief.

She was in every sense of the word, a bad ass.

Ms. Vernon’s legacy is the kind I want when I leave this Earth. I want people to look back on me with great memories and smile. I want people to remember a funny story or a time when I was a Brave Little Toaster and share that like I am sharing these with you. I think we should all strive to have the legacy Ms. Vernon had.

Thanks for showing me how to live, Grandma. But above all else – thanks for believing me when I yelled “Snake” and then sending it to Hell where it belongs.

Thanks for reading…

Know I’m always rooting for you.

One Reply to “What is a Legacy?”

  1. Ahh.. bringing back memories… She was a “bad ass”. Also, to this day, when ever “Chocolate pie is around, I think of her!

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