Sunday, July 17, 2005

In Memoriam

Thank you, everyone, for the sympathy and support. It really does mean a lot.

Michelle said that Granny "must have been quite a woman". You might say that.

Ruth Ellison was born and raised in poverty so profound her family literally lived under the specter of starvation. This was way before there were any organized welfare programs or "safety nets". They scrabbled and scratched and survived by their wits and their work ethic. When she was 14, Ruth moved from Louisiana to Knoxville, Tennessee, with only what she could wear and carry. There she eventually met and married Omer Lee Nipper. They worked their way up into lower middle-class comfort while they raised their 5 children.

Grandaddy died in 1969 of a massive cerebral hemorrhage while he was mowing the lawn. He was dead before he hit the ground. Over the years since then, Granny buried 2 of her sons, the oldest and youngest of her children.

Some of us let life push us around. We let it knock us down and kick us in the ribs. We let it spit in our faces and laugh at us. Granny never did that. She was a tall woman, strong, bull-headed, and opinionated (Hmmm...sounds vaguely familiar). She was, and is, a lighthouse standing tall and strong, blazing her beacon against the hurricane, daring it to knock her down if it can. Granny set a high standard. It's a good one to strive for.

I'm off to Knoxville now. See you Tuesday.


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