Remembering Mamaw

Even though I long for the day when “Redneck” is listed as a distinct classification like Latino or Pacific Islander, I do not consider myself a member of this particular group.  There’s nothing wrong with being considered a redneck, it’s just not me.  I don’t watch NASCAR, pee outside, or hunt.   I like to read, my hands are semi-soft, and I have been known to cry during movies.  Strangely, the movie I weep the most while watching stars Adam Sandler.  No, it isn’t Waterboy.

With that being said, I will admit to doing at least one thing that is a little redneck-ish.  I love little, “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants.  You know, the kind of place where old men used to sit at a food counter and smoke while watching their food being prepared just a few feet away and where they use duct tape to fix rips in their vinyl seats.  I love those kinds of places.

There is one such place near my humble abode.  Tackle Box has been around for a long time and is the only restaurant that I am aware of that doubles as a place where you can purchase all of your fishing supplies.  Really.  I remember a time when their sign our front said, “Biscuits and Gravy and Nightcrawlers.”  I’ve long dreamt of a day that the sign would  say “Eat Here and Get Worms”; so far it hasn’t happened.

Mamaw, my maternal grandmother, treated me and my ugly brother to a meal there on occasion.  I think it was when she won a little money at the bingo parlor that became a bar once the powers that be cracked down on gambling.  So instead of being a place where old people could socialize and win money that they could use to take their grandkids out to eat, the building now is a place where people can become inebriated and possibly try to drive home. 

I guess this is the real reason that I like eating there–it reminds me of Mamaw.  She died a few years ago at the age of 70, but she always seemed about that old to me even though she was only 41 when I was born.  Not sure why this is.  I guess it’s because there was a free-ness about her; the kind that only comes with age.  Most elderly people I have encountered are freer than their younger counterparts.  By this I mean that they don’t seem to care so much about what those around them think about what they are doing.

She laughed loudly and acted impulsively.  Her anger would rise quickly at times and then often be replaced by a smile just as quickly.  She wore sleeveless shirts and 3/4th length pants year-round–even on the coldest days–and didn’t care if other people questioned her sanity.  She drove slowly and would yell out “whoop-whoop-whoop” if those she rode with began driving too fast to suit her. 

She said things that made me smile.  When talking about education, she would say, “I only made it through the 8th grade, but I’ve been able to count all of the money that I’ve ever made.”  After preparing meals that would feed small armies, she would say “It may not be fittin’ to eat, but such as it is children, such as it is.”  Whenever she was about to eat something that she knew would give her gas, she would say, “I sure do like this, but it sure doesn’t like me.  Where’s the Beano?”  (If you don’t know what Beano is, look it up.  Trust me–it’s funny).

And if she thought about how much God had done for her or how much she loved her family, she would cry.

I miss her and sometimes have a hard time remembering the sound of her voice and the kindness of her eyes.  

But whenever I go into Tackle Box, I’m able to remember her a little bit better.

I love places like that.

(Do you have places like this?  Ever been to Tackle Box?  Share–it won’t hurt.)

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