Sunday, November 6, 2011
Mee Maw Ruby
My friend Tyler and I took a road trip to "the country" one afternoon. Back to my hometown in Bassett,VA. I was taking him to meet my grandma Ruby. I was interested in showing him a part of my family's history and heritage by letting him explore the house and the land that my mother grew up in and a place I used to hang out when I was younger. My grandpa and grandma Cockram were for the most part farmers. Gardens on every side of there house growing just about any fruit or vegetable one could think of. I grew up seeing cows,chickens,and yes,even honey bees. My grandparents "made"everything from the farm. Eggs,butter,honey,apple cider,"preserves". It was a regular Food Lion (a local grocery store chain) around there. Trips to the farmer's market every weekend was a must considering the volume of food they produced.
Production on the farm slowed down once my grandpa Noel died in 1994. Well, sorta....My Mee Maw Ruby was a worker. A very hard worker. It was all she ever known in her life. She belonged to a typical country family who saw it necessary to quit school at a very early age to tend to siblings and farm land. These days people like grandma simply don't exist. Work like my grandma performed her entire life is discarded and deemed too hard for the American way of life....so we give the work to Mexicans.
My friend Tyler and I was sitting around grandma's kitchen table carrying a conversation about the old days. Grandma showed Tyler some old family photos and was talking about life when she was our age. All the sudden she asked Tyler if he wanted some apples to take home with him to Roanoke. Of course he did! At this point I'm expecting grandma to open the refrigerator door and grab some apples...or perhaps open the cupboard to fetch some. No....She grabs a bag and instructs Tyler to follow her...walked outside her back porch and proceeded to the nearest apple tree.
"Hold this" grandma says. Handing Tyler the bag. She climbed that apple tree what seemed like 2 stories and proceeded to throw apples down to Tyler in that bag. It was though she went to work. She stepped into her office! Working on a Sunday. Overtime...you name it. It was funny to think maybe it should be Ty or I in that tree...Geesh Grandma was in her mid to late 70's! Doing what she did best and wouldn't take no for an answer.
Grandma Ruby was solid...like a rock. Climbing rooftops to clean gutters,mowing yards,fetching fire wood and of course climbing apple or cherry trees til the last few years of her life. Once cancer came knocking at her door it forced her to slow down.
Once she went to war on a band of Japanese hornets. Lured them in a well lit back porch in the dark of night. Her back porch was enclosed. She trapped them in...closed the door behind her and started swatting away her problems...one hornet at a time. No military fatigues required. Tough as nails Mee maw Rubes!
Cancer has a way of softening even the hardest body...the super heroes we have become mere mortals when cancer is in their path. She fought it and fought it...never wanting anyone to know she was suffering a losing battle....she had her ups..her downs...her good days...and her bad...She wore it all with a smile! A very tough smile!
Grandma would have been 85 last Monday....her one year death anniversary is Nov 8,2011 and of course its a time to reflect and think of sweet mee maw :)
R.I.P. Ruby Cockram