I am Beatrice Banks, a combination of genetics and inherited traits from my parents. Beatrice M. is my paternal grandmother. E. Banks is my maternal grandmother. These two women were hard working, humble souls who lived a simple but meaningful life. Both worked diligently. Both raised large families. Tough times produced tough women. Yet, their hearts were as soft as the cotton they picked.
Beatrice M. was creative with a capital C. She gardened, sewed, crocheted, and cooked. Oh, the things that lady made with her hands which were wrinkled and callused from years of working the fields. Those same hands were unselfish, always looking for ways to give to others, even on a limited income. I never heard her speak an unkind word about anyone. There wasn’t a soul she didn’t love. Any time you stopped by her house, she’d have a big spread waiting for you at the table, (fresh from the garden with a pan of cornbread, of course) in a moment's flash. Such a hostess! After dinner was finished and kitchen cleaned, you'd find her sitting in her favorite chair reading the Bible, no matter who was around. It was her routine, but more than that, her passion. Sometimes she'd reach for an old hymnal and sing me a tune. To this day it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I loved to stay with her in the summer. By the time I woke up in the mornings, she would have already put in a morning's work in the garden. She was a great story teller too. I have so many fond memories of her. Her walk with the Lord was so real. She was a Sunday school teacher for 45 years. Talk about commitment. Beatrice M. was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman. She was graceful in every situation.
E. Banks loved having her family around. Her children and grandchildren were the highlight of her life. Holidays were a celebration at the Banks’ house. I suppose this is one reason holidays are big at my house. The heart of E's home was the kitchen. My mom and her 3 sisters would all gather in the tiny kitchen to help prepare dinner but the dressing making was reserved for E. (I must insert that my mom is the wind beneath my wings. Another post later.) E. worked very hard at her job in the hospital. She didn’t drive so when we’d go visit, we’d pick her up from work. She’d come out in her little pink jacket. Back in the day, that kind of seemed out of the norm to me because most women her age didn’t work outside the home. I guess in my mind, a grandma was supposed to be sitting in a rocking chair knitting. But she knew what she needed to do to survive and a survivor she was! She was well liked by her coworkers and a friend to many. I still remember her laughter even though her mind and body were stressed with the cares of life. Lord, help me remember to laugh even in hard times. E. Banks was faithful to God and family. She was grateful for her blessings.
The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was “you remind me of your grandmother Beatrice.” I’ve not lived up to those words by any means, but it’s my daily goal. I seek to live gracefully with a grateful heart.
I have a rich heritage and do not want to take it for granted. Both B and E have departed this life for a better one. I hope a little bit of them lives on in me.
All photos are Google images approved for reuse.
Graphics from The Graphic Fairy.