Alabama was about as different as night and day from New Orleans. My Dad was born and raised in the red clay hills of Alabama. This is a picture of the old home place. His mother, whom we called Granny, was one of the finest christian women I have ever known. She was a kind and gentle soul. I don't think I ever remember her raising her voice or speaking ill of anyone. She made a profound and lasting impression on me as a child and who I would become as an adult.
Although it was a long ride from New Orleans, I loved when we went to see them. I was always fascinated by the red dirt roads, the cotton fields, the country stores. It was a different world from the one we were used to. Granny would fix three full meals a day. I am talking about plates, silverware, napkins, the whole nine yards. There is not a time that I don't smell bacon, that I don't think of Granny's house.
The christmases we spent there were just awesome! Real christmas trees, lots of food, and best of all lots of presents. How I cherish those memories!
My granny was just as Baptist as my maternal grandmother was Catholic. I remember the first time I ever visited her church. I had never been to a church except a Catholic church. I was about 5 years old. First of all, I could not get over the fact that everyone was talking in church, shaking hands, hugging, laughing, singing. Speaking in a Catholic church was considered disrespectful, I thought everyone was going to get in trouble!
And then the preacher started preaching. Oh. My. Goodness. He was one of these really loud, hell fire and brimstone preachers and he scared me to death. I thought he was mad at everyone, the way he was pounding on that pulpit. Well, I started to ball my eyes out. No one could hush me up and my Aunt Neta had to take me to her car. It's so funny looking back on it now, but it did not seem funny at the time to a 5 year old little catholic girl, who had only heard a priest speak softly in Latin, not even English mind you!
But I never forgot that church. And I never forgot that my granny seemed to have a peace, grace, and contentment about her that others did not have. I know now that peace and grace was Jesus. It would be many years to come before I found that same peace.
But I did find it.
And preachers don't scare me anymore.
I married one.