Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lord Have Mercy

Suzicate’s post My Wild Irish Rose got me to thinking about someone who touched my life, a lady who had my full respect and one I loved with all of my heart, she was my Great Grandmother, my Moms Grandmother we all called her Granny she and Papa Cooper were God Fearing, Die Hard Southern Democrats back in the day when this was a good thing, seriously Granny and Papa were a big part of a whole lot of peoples lives even though I don’t think they ever really knew it, Papa died when I was seven but I still remember sitting on his lap listening to him talk and laugh, I also remember sitting on the porch waiting for him to walk down the street just to wave at him and know that everything was all right.

Granny was born and raised in Salem, South Carolina and she always told me that she had never been more than twenty miles from where she was born, in my opinion there was nothing that she didn’t know, she was well educated in life and was a lot of fun when the time was right, she was serious about going to church and respect was something you learned whether you needed to or not.

She had a way of popping off with a statement that really didn’t make any sense to you but either told a story later on or taught you a lesson when you least expected it, she taught us a lot and we enjoyed learning from her, she told me stories of catching fish “Horney Heads” in the creek in Salem when she was a kid and showed everyone her rock collection that friends and family donated to from all over the country in her front yard even though she didn’t travel she had rocks from everywhere.

One winter day when we were snowed in I remember her getting pots and bowls out of the kitchen for us kids and walking us all over Easley, South Carolina to find “Just the right snow” we gathered up the snow and carried it back to Granny’s house to make snow ice cream, man that was good and finding the right snow which was about a mile away from her house was a big part of making it so good because we got to play and hear a lot of stories while walking with her. Another memory was after I started driving was when she called for me to take her for a drive early one morning, I picked her up and took her to the DAR School and Children’s Home in Tamassee, SC they were having a fund raising sale and we arrived early enough to wait for them to open, Granny went through everything and on the table where the pocketbooks were stacked she made the mistake of sitting hers down to look at one, another lady picked up Granny’s pocketbook thinking it was for sale, Granny and this lady had a tug of war going on with Granny yelling it’s mine and the lady replying No I saw it first, Granny won and never sat her pocketbook down again, I still grin when I think of this day.

I was a typical teenage boy who probably had more money invested in the stereo system in my car than the car was worth, I had a set of Mind Blower Speakers that really got Granny’s attention she couldn’t believe that I had such a thing in my car “Lord have mercy”, she wanted to go get something to eat and requested I take her to a certain restaurant, we ordered our food and sat out front in the car, the music from the restaurant was so loud you could feel it sitting there in the car, you could see the kids inside dancing to the devils music, Granny says Jimmy why don’t you turn on the radio here to drown that stuff out, no problem I turned it on Granny says turn it up, I did, louder I can still hear that stuff she says, OK here I go I hit the old power boost switch and the folks inside stop dancing and look our way, Granny’s mouth is moving forming my full name and I turn it down and she is ready to go, I felt bad like I had done something wrong so I apologized for blasting her out of the car, she laughs and says don’t be sorry didn’t you see the looks on their face, I just wanted to see if they could hear yours.

After Cindy and I married we took the trip back home to introduce Cindy and the kids to the Family, Granny was one who never hid her feelings and you knew where you stood with her, this introduction I didn’t fear but wanted it to be perfect, Granny swept Cindy underneath her wing and you would have thought she was her Granddaughter rather than my new wife, Granny told stories just like she always did and really welcomed Cindy into our family, the kids got to play and enjoy Granny like I did when I was young, I feel so blessed Cindy and she got a chance to know each other. Because just a little over a year later she was gone.

Granny and I spent a lot of time together and I credit her for my belief in God, Family, and Love of Life, she taught me to stand up for what I believe and to read only the King James Version Bible, respect your elders and to raise your kids with these traits.

I could go on forever about her but will finish up with this. I remember a statement she made over and over while I was with her and it never made sense to me until after she died (wish now I had asked more questions then). For just about any reason she would come up with "It's a shame those Lusk boys had to go off and fight together" then she would say no more of it. I never knew who the Lusk boys were and she would change the subject after the statement so I never asked.

While talking to family members about the Lusk Boys I found out Granny’s Mom was a Lusk. Now after starting some Genealogy research I have found that her Granddad Leroy W Lusk was a 2nd Lieutenant in Company F, 1st Regiment South Carolina Calvary during the Civil War. His brother Nathan Boone Lusk Jr. was a 2nd Lieutenant in Company G, 12th Regiment of the South Carolina Infantry and a member of the Immortal 600, Brother Erastus C Lusk w as a private in the 1st Regiment South Carolina Calvary, Company F “Hampton’s Brigade”, and little brother Rufus B Lusk was a Private in the 12th Regiment of the South Carolina Infantry, Company G at age 16 and died of Pneumonia and Typhoid Fever in December of 1861.

There were four brothers James Leroy, William, David, and John, these four brothers were killed on September 17th 1862 at the Antietam Battle in Sharpsburg Maryland. All four are listed as buried on the Battlegrounds among Confederate Unknown at Sharpsburg, Md. As you have guessed these 4 Brothers were Lusks, these 4 brothers were 1st cousins of the first Lusk Boys I mentioned. So which group was Granny speaking of? Probably both I figure.

Everyone’s Family has a rich history that got them to where they are today, lessons taught by your elders are a blessing because most were taught to them by their elders, never be afraid to ask questions because the answer just may be given to you in a way you will always remember and appreciate, questions not asked may cause the answers to be lost forever when our loved ones leave this world.


  1. Beautiful tribute to your great grandmother. I love the story about the pocketbook and your car stereo...hilarious! Good memories!

  2. Thanks Suzicate, there are so many memories I laid thinking last night, I should have put this ot that in also but you know how that goes---always other posts huh

  3. Awesome tribute, Jimmy!

    I really got a sense of who your grandmother was from your words. And I have feeling that I would have loved her! I really enjoyed reading the whole thing about making snow ice cream because I never heard of that before.

    It's true what you shared about the lessons taught by our elders, and to never be afraid to ask questions because the answers will be given to you in a way you will ALWAYS remember and appreciate.

    Beautiful post, buddy!

  4. Love your grandma tribute. It actually makes me feel good to think the effect one generation has on the next. In addition to passing along your genetics, you can also pass along to future generations your spirit, your "sayings" and your love. It seems your grandma did this for you! I have no doubt when you are called "grandpa" someday, you will spread your magic to future generations too!

  5. Thank you Ron,

    She was someone really special and a wonderful cook too, every Sunday we were at her house for a big meal after church, the snow ice cream is a special treat we all got a taste of at least once :^)

    A lot of times while growing up we miss the lessons hidden in the stories of our elders, I think thats why they repeat the same stories to us sometimes because they were once where we are now and know we didn't catch it all, I find myself repeating stories already.

  6. Thank You Susie,

    It is amazing what is passed along from generation to generation, the lessons do pass along even though we dont think so sometimes and the physical part is scary, I found a picture of my Dads Grandmother she was born in 1882 and compared it to my son who was born in 1988, same facial features I thought it was pretty amazing.

    We have a Grandbaby due in August and I am just itching to set this little one on my knee and tell he or she about our family, I'll take Grandpa and will be blessed to be called that but will really be tickled to hear Granny and Papa.

  7. Oh how exciting for you and your wife. who is it...son or daughter???

  8. Believe it or not---Tim the youngest Ha Ha

  9. What a wonderful story about your Granny. I feel like I just got to meet her for a few minutes.


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