Mema was just 22 when her dad died. The two were close; quite possibly, she was the favorite of his four children.
As my granddad, who we call Pepa, drove her home from the funeral, he warned, “You know, everything you see is going to make you think of him.” To which Mema responded, “You’re right; it will. And everything will be a beautiful memory.”
That’s the story as Pepa retold it to my sister and me 60 years later, as we drove him home from a new funeral. Now he was the one left with all the beautiful memories.
Infinitesitale: An extremely small story. 100 words or less. This was a second attempt.
My Mema. She taught me how to set the table. Forks on the left. Knives and spoons on the right. Every meal was served with a fruit tray and a vegetable platter. A pitcher of sweet tea and hot butter rolls.
My Mema. She left us last Friday.
She showed me the difference between camellias and jonquils and magnolias and azaleas. She pointed our hummingbirds and mourning doves and finches and buntings.
My Mema. She left behind her a husband of 61 years.
She made homemade peach ice cream and lemon icebox pie and homemade hot fudge. She whipped up pot roast and fried okra and Reuben sandwiches. She showed me how to make caramel icing. She chuckled as I complained about burning my cake layers.
My Mema. She left behind two beautiful, perfect sons.
Growing up, she kept plastic smurfs in the bathtub for the grandchildren to play with. When she moved to a retirement community, they took residence in her shower. She took us out to pick blueberries in yellow buckets. She watched over us as we swam in lake. She let me bring coloring books to church.
My Mema. She left five heartbroken grand children.
She would save bows and bags and ribbons and tissue from Christmas wrapping and reuse it year after year. She had a lovely, warm southern drawl, using words like yonder and reckon. She was tough and sensitive at the same time. She was smart and witty. She was polite, dignified, gracious.
My Mema. I thought she’d be here forever. I wasn’t ready to let her go. All southern grandmas are special, but mine was perfect. My Mema was just perfect.