Meet the Lites – Mom
Good morning, y’all. I caught a coughing spell today that made me wonder if my time was going to be sooner than later. Seems this weather has been making the air dirtier than usual and folks with a “sensitivity” are supposed to stay indoors. Thanks, Georgia Power for doing your part in making the Smokey Mountains truly smokey.
Today, as part of my ongoing effort to resolve my issues, we will begin talking about Mom. Mom was born in 1927 and was baptized as Hanna Bea Lowe. She was the oldest child of Wilton Ben Lowe and Rose Bush Lowe. Grandpa Lowe was a journeyman barber and seemed to set up shop around the South in communities where there was kin that he could stay with while he “got himself established”. His efforts were aided by Grandma Lowe who, it was said, could squeeze a quarter so tight that the eagle would scream.
While barbering up in Kentucky, staying with Grandma Lowe’s kin, Mom popped into the world. It was eight years before my aunt Edna was born, four more years before the “baby”, Matilda, was born. To the casual observer this suggests that Grandma and Grandpa’s intimacy level was not very high, or that there was some sort of Leap Year schedule in place. Anyway, they moved around until settling in Blairsville, where Grandpa opened a shop of his own.
Apparently, when held to task, Grandpa Lowe could generate income, and with a little help from kin, they bought a house not far from the shop. This was the Depression, and Grandma Lowe reckoned that if times got too bad that Grandpa could carry his lunch to the shop and walk back and forth. As it was, Grandpa drove their Chevy home everyday for a hot lunch, perfunctorily prepared by Grandma.
My early memories of them were of the smell of talcum from Grandpa, and the smell of vinegar from Grandma. Grandma cleaned constantly and vinegar was the cheapest cleaning product available. She used it to clean everything. I interject my personal memory here because it must have been the same for Mom. The sweet smell of talcum from Grandpa, the sour smell of vinegar from Grandma. I know that children are effected by smells from very early on. Many is the time I’ve been told I smelled like a wet dog by my kids. So, I guess I’m wondering if a child’s affections could gravitate to one parent or the other based solely on sense of smell. Maybe.
More likely, the fact that Grandma suffered from headaches, and could launch into verbal attacks that would scald the hair off of a dog, might also have had a negative bonding effect. Grandma would usually follow the headache with a “sinking spell”, and then eventually get her cart righted again. Lest you get the wrong impression, Grandma rarely ever took to her bed during these fits. Hot lunch was always ready when Grandpa rolled up at 12:05, the house was always antiseptically clean. The family never missed service at the First Methodist Church on Sunday or prayer meeting on Wednesday night. Grandma made sure Grandpa’s church attendance was perfect as well, including his Men’s group on Monday night.
Grandpa was free to pursue his passion, hunting, after work or after Church on Sunday. Grandpa raised, trained and sold bird dogs. By all accounts he was good at his “hobby”, and people would come from all over to put in their dibs when there was a new litter. I seem to be giving more information on my Grandparents here than Mom, but in her case, I think it’s real important.
Well, the Dr.Pepper clock on the wall says it’s 1:15 here in the Rec room so I better snap this one off. I’ve got to take another dose of Tussin DM before putting my head down. It’s the only alcohol free cough syrup Mulva could find over to the Walmart. Can’t start back slidin’ now. More on Mom tomorrow.