Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


March 3, 2013

My grandma's southern charm

My grandma Thelma’s friends were named Bee, Vacie, Mabel and Joe Anne. The four women lived within walking distance of each other’s front porches. Whenever I stayed at my grandma’s house, we would often go “visiting” in the afternoons. On hot summer days, I would tag along, kicking rocks and picking flowers along the side of the road.

I spent a lot of afternoons sitting at different kitchen tables. It was like a scene out of one of those late ’80s, early ’90s movies about southern women. I would study the room and listen to church and family talk. Their conversations flew above my ears, buzzing with stories that made no sense to a child. I sat patiently until one of grandma’s friends poured a glass of tap water, maybe juice or lemonade if I was lucky and put a few store-bought sandwich cookies on a napkin. I loved those visits and all those ladies who called my grandma a neighbor and a friend. I imagined growing up and having my own best friends as neighbors. My grandma, who lived alone, had a friend on every side.


You could always find Grandma at church, Big Lots Department Store, visiting a friend or sitting on the porch reading a book and drinking a glass of water or tea. She lived in a quiet neighborhood; there was no traffic to watch or as many friends to visit. Bee and Vacie passed away when I was young. That left only two friends to visit, but my grandma had a true southern view of life. Oh, she liked to go places and shop, wear high heels and visit family and friends. But she also liked the slower pace of life — the tradition of afternoon visits and front porch talks.

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