Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2003, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Blackberry Winter

    We are having blackberry winter here but the Ozarks are very beautiful at this time of year. Have you taken a tour and seen the wild azaleas? They are simply lovely! It is well worth your time and trouble just to drive through the hills and admire them.
    When I see the wild flowers and the old-fashioned roses, I am reminded of my grandma. She had many old-fashioned roses, hollyhocks, japonicas and jonquils. In fact, her jonquils are still there and still blooming at her old home place.
    I can still see the bleeding heart by the path to the gate. It was always so pretty and the name fascinated me. I have an old-fashioned dark red rose bush that came from her place. My son owns part of her old home place and I live near. How I love to go and sit nearby and relive in my memory those happy, careful days spent with her. I was 18 years old when she passed away. We lived near her and I visited her nearly every day.
    There were many interesting things to do and see. We children helped her in many ways. She had a large garden and we often pulled weeds for her. Grandma loved to work in her garden. She grew her own tobacco, for she smoked an old clay pipe as many of the older women did.
    I don't recall ever seeing her angry. If we children got unruly or started fighting, she would tell us to go "worm" the tobacco. That was punishment enough for us. Those old big green worms with one horn nearly scared me to death! She would say if we thought we'd had enough of picking worms we could go back to playing. I was ready to go back to playing before we started!
    Many times we would pick apples for her. I wonder whatever became of the old Shockley Gentian 20-ounce apples. I haven't seen any in years. Grandma had several kinds of apples. The Gentians were hard as rocks and a rusty yellow color. She never did much with them. I remember in the cold weather we kids would find them in the grass and eat them.
    With her large orchard and the abundance of fruit, she had a big kiln built of stones where she dried apples and peaches for winter use. Her dried fruit pies were always a special treat.
    Grandma worked hard, but I think she was happy. She loved having her grandchildren around. I have tried to be the kind of grandmother she was. I love to have my grandchildren around and they seem to enjoy coming to my house. It makes one feel younger just to be around them. I'm always interested in their activities and school work.
    To merit their respect, we must live a good, clean life and show them that we love them.
    I hope all you grandmothers had a happy Mother's Day, too!

Mellie Smith

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