Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 12, 2015

True Grit

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I have long been a fan of John Wayne, the Duke!  And one of my favorite movies with him is  True Grit.  In the movie, John Wayne played Marshal Rooster Cogburn.  He is chosen to go after a gang (you, know, the usual western theme) because he has “true grit.”  The interpretation of the expression is he has genuine determination and courage.  He would not give up even in the face of adversity.

I have been blessed with a heritage of persons of true grit.  I saw modeled, in my youth, true grit from persons that I loved.  One of these special people was my maternal grandmother, known as MaMa to me.  Perhaps I did not see it from the same perspective as I do today, but she was the essence of true grit.  She was a person of determination and courage even in the face of difficulties.

My grandparents were persons of means.  My grandfather had owned the bank and the lumber yard.  They built a large home, with a smaller home on the property.  They lived at the top of the main street in town, and I assume, were considered  very affluent. Two of their children attended college, unusual in those days, and a younger daughter attended a high school in another city.   But all of this began to change.  The lumber yard burned, and the bank collapsed.  With no insurance in those days, my grandfather determined to repay every person that lost their deposits.  And that he did!  He became the warden of the county prison and began to rebuild their lives.  The houses had been built without any mortgage, which was a blessing, of course.  As the youngest daughter turned 16 years of age, my grandfather died suddenly.  Again, things were to change.

My MaMa, without financial resources other than the owned property, found herself in need of income.  Predating Social Security and without insurances proceeds, she proved her true grit.  She continued to live in the home at the top of the hill.  She raised chickens, milked cows, raised hogs, planted and worked a large garden.  Hard work was her style!  She had fruit trees from which she canned preserves of pears and peaches.  She canned vegetables to see her through the winter.

With all this endurance and determination, she never complained, nor did she withdraw from her church and community commitments.  She was respected for her leadership in women’s work through the church and for aiding those in need through quilting.  She sold Watkins products and traveled through the community to sell the products.  She  rented rooms, or a portion of the big house, from time to time.  The other home on the property that had been built with the same design as the larger home was rented.  She was extremely resourceful.

And with all the labors she extended to maintain her life and provide income, she still enjoyed the finer things of life.  Her rose garden was unequalled in town.  Her  flowers and ferns on the porch and in the yard were a beauty to behold by those who passed by.  Her clover-leaf shaped fish pond was constantly filled with beautiful goldfish.  She sought to maintain an impeccable yard and well-maintained shrubbery.  It seemed her passion in life was her Lord, her family, her friends, and her home. She was committed to allowing nothing to take away her joy of living!

If anyone could have ever been categorized by the expression of “true grit,” it would be my MaMa.  When others may have weakened, she lived a determined and courageous life, even in face of adversity.  There are many who, likewise, have shown true grit.  But, today, I honor my MaMa for her example and influence upon me.

She is the epitome of Proverbs 31.  Verse 31 sums in up well: “Give her the reward she has earned . . . .” 

Lawson

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