By Les Ferguson, Jr.
The world knew her as Lillie Louise Williams Ferguson. Or Bob Ferguson’s wife. Or even Les Ferguson, Sr.’s mom.
But me? I knew her as Grannie, my paternal grandmother.
I was blessed with two full sets of grandparents, and I loved them all. Better yet, I still had them as an adult. I was in my thirties, married, with kids, out of the Navy, and working as a youth minister when my last surviving grandparent passed on. That was Grannie.
Of all my grandparents, Grannie was the one I probably spent the most time with. She often wrote me letters that I still hold precious today. If you asked my Grannie, she’d claim the lion’s share of why I became a minister. It didn’t matter that my dad was a minister—it didn’t matter that I have always felt God’s call on my life. What mattered was her constant encouragement to pursue ministry, to be a preacher.
I’m glad she did.
One time at Grannie’s house, she was cooking, and I was sitting at the table visiting with my grandfather, otherwise known as Pa. My Pa liked to agitate and aggravate and that day, his target was Grannie. After asking him to leave her be several times, she finally snapped. With a speed I couldn’t have ever seen coming, she opened the refrigerator, grabbed an egg, and smashed it on Pa’s head. I was never so astonished as I was then. As my Pa sat there with egg yolk dripping off his head, I laughed so hard—well, you know the proverbial phrase that comes next. And my grandfather? He sputtered and fussed and asked me what I thought. My answer was simple: If Grannie asks you to leave her alone, you probably need to do just that.
I smile at that memory and so many more. My dad would hear me tell this story and say what he often says, “Precious memories, how they linger.”
There is a restaurant here in town that makes one of my Grannie’s specialties and it seems as if they are channeling her presence in their presentation of tomato gravy and biscuits. That is still a favorite meal and when I go to that establishment, I can close my eyes and think my grannie is right there at the stove stirring gravy and baking biscuits.
Unfortunately, grannies don’t last forever. So, if I could presume to give you a piece of advice, it would be this: Hold your grannie close. Or Mom. Or Dad. Or spouse. Or child. Or whomever means much to you.
As the good book says life is but a vapor. (James 4:14)
Blessings to all!