Dad’s mother — Granny to me — is the only grandparent I had the chance to know. She was an amazing woman — practically perfect as grandmothers go. I adored her.
Granny was born in 1902 on a farm Hustonville, KY — a tiny town in Lincoln County just south of Stanford. She quit school in the eighth grade. As the oldest of ten kids, she was needed too much at home. She stayed on the family farm into her twenties.
At 24, she married Arthur Rupured (1891-1964) who worked on a dairy farm near Lexington. From all reports, he never went to school at all and couldn’t read or write. He had two kids of his own when they married. Over the next ten years, they added six more to the family.
Granny grew a big vegetable garden every year and put up (canned) whatever she didn’t give away or eat herself. The steps to her attic were lined with jars of green beans, tomatoes, squash, green tomato catsup (a personal favorite) and several kinds of jams, jellies, and preserves.
Cooking was her greatest talent. She often had dinners for ten or more when I was young and cooked everything herself. Nothing fancy, just down-home country cooking. Everything from her kitchen, sweet or savory, included at least a dab of lard, sugar, and salt.
Desserts were her specialty — all of them — cakes, pies, cookies, candies, and homemade ice cream. Her jam cake with caramel icing, chocolate meringue pie, and fried apple pies were unmatched. Nobody who checked her kitchen for sweets when they visited was ever disappointed.
As a firefighter, Dad worked a 24-hour shift and then was off for 48 hours Mom was afraid to stay by herself. Granny was one of many who stayed with us when Dad was at work. She was a fixture for holiday dinners at our house and recuperated from surgery with us on several occasions. I had twin beds so we were roommates whenever she stayed with us. I don’t recall this ever being an issue for me or Granny.
We flew to Atlanta to visit Uncle Raymond when I was 10. Neither of us had flown before. I’m not sure who was supposed to be taking care of who, but it all worked out.
Once I got my driver’s license, I often dropped in for a visit. She’d be sitting on a glider on her big front porch, reading the paper and keeping an eye on the ‘hood. After chatting for a few minutes, she’d ask if I was hungry (yes), and within minutes (without a microwave), produced a piping hot plate of home-cooked food.
Many say I was her favorite. Not true. She was crazy about all sixteen of her grands. Having spent so much time at our house when I was growing up, we had time to develop a real relationship. She didn’t love me more — she just knew me better.
A few months ago, I got a package from Aunt Geraldine, Granny’s youngest daughter. Granny’s wedding band was inside with a note. She wanted me to have it. The simple band fits my little finger. I haven’t taken it off since.