one of my heroes….
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and genders and one of the most important and influential people in my life was my fraternal grandmother, Memaw. I spent a lot of time at Memaw and Papaw’s house growing up. She taught me many things on many subjects but the one that stands out most is that all knowledge in valuable and never a waste of time, no matter how trivial. She was short and plump and happy! She could always find something positive no matter the situation.
I remember, we got our first television when I was in third grade and every Thursday night Memaw and Pawpaw would drive out to our house to watch Ozzie and Harriet, The Real McCoys, Bonanza and then the local news. It wasn’t too long before they got a television at their house and that is when I learned that there was something to watch after the news.
Every time I spent the night at their house, Papaw would go to bed after the news and that is when the fun started. Memaw would go to the kitchen fix us a snack, there was always something good to eat in her fridge, then we would turn off all the lamps so as not to disturb Papaw and settle down to watch the late movie. I am talking really old movies now, but since Memaw had never went to theaters much she was seeing them for the first time too. We watched everything, war movies, mysteries, romance, comedy, there weren’t any ratings back then and Memaw never told me to close my eyes because there was nothing in them that was going to warp my young mind. I don’t remember the all the titles but I loved them all. Tyrone Power, Bogie, Loretta Young, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Audie Murphy, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, and so many more whose names escape me right now. We would always watch the last thing on the air after the movie which was the Blue Angels and a mans voice reciting this poem….
- Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
- And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
- Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
- of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
- You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
- High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
- I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
- My eager craft through footless halls of air….
- Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
- I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
- Where never lark nor even eagle flew-
- And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
- The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
After the poem there was Old Glory waving in the breeze and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, which Memaw and I always recited aloud with our hands over our heart. I think this is when I became a dreamer and developed a deep feeling of patriotism and love for my country……then we would go to bed and I would go to sleep dreaming that I was the heroine…..