I feel so blessed to have a copy of this picture. Let me introduce you to Josephine and Marvin my mother’s parents. I remember back when I was in high school (a hundred years ago) Mom pulled the original of this picture out of the cedar chest that sat at the foot of her bed. As you may have figured out I love old family pictures and to have a portrait of Mama Jo and Marvin Daddy – well! I was over the moon about it. My mom took the original and had copies made for her three brothers and a few other family members. I’m not sure if I was given my copy or if I stole – I mean - borrowed it ala my other grandmother Mama Carrie – but that’s a post for another day.
All of my memories of Mama Jo are bookended by my strongest memory of her standing on the front porch of her house. Every summer our family would drive down to Dallas where my parents grew up to spend the last three weeks of our summer vacation. As a little kid I was always amazed to see Mama Jo standing on the front porch of her house looking for us. I wondered how long she had been standing there and how did she know we were coming up the street at that precise moment. We would tumble out of the red station wagon and scoot up the front walk as fast as our little legs would carry us. She would gather us kids all in her arms at the same and hug us so tight. I remember those hugs, those warm tight soft grandmotherly hugs and how loved and safe I felt. Those hugs lasted forever and they were wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. There is nothing in the world like a grandmother’s hug.
Marvin Daddy spoke slow but had a strong voice, always wore a hat and called me 'baby'. I remember he called us all ‘baby’ as far as I can remember, but we always knew which one he was calling. We’d sit on his lap or snuggled up next to him as he sat and talked with the other men in my family, my dad and my uncles until we were called into the kitchen by the women or sent outside to play. He always gave us money for the ice cream man (yay!)and bought us candy when we would ride with him to the store. Although Mama Jo went on to be with the Lord when I was in fourth grade, Marvin Daddy was with us until I was a young married woman. One of my last memories of him was when I brought my first born son down to Dallas for him to see. He was dying from prostate cancer at that time and I wanted to make sure he saw my son. He was also so proud of my husband who was in medical school and would call him “Doc”. Obediently my husband brought his medical bag and took Marvin Daddy’s pulse and blood pressure and listened to his heart. My grandfather then declared to all in the room how he felt so much better now that ‘Doc’ had checked him out.
Marvin Daddy went to join Mama Jo not long after that last visit. I miss them both so much. The Bible says in Psalm 127 vs. 3a that “children are a heritage of the LORD…” and that is true but in my heart when I think of my wonderful grandparents I always think, grandparents are a heritage for children from the Lord like they were for me and my siblings. I love them, thank God for them and miss them all very, very much.