Haverhill Road, Nanny’s chewy bread, boiled peanuts, the card game Spoons, Tippy the dog, spend-the-nights at Lynnette’s, holiday meals, water skiing on Lake Lily, Aunt Nette’s gum drawer, fish fries and hush puppies, the Lockmiller’s pinball machine, cousins, more cousins, weddings, a few funerals, laughter and the list goes on.
These are just some of the things I think of when I think of family. My Nanny, Viola Folsom, was born in 1900. She is one of my top five. Of all the people I have known in my life, she is one that stands out the very most. Not because she was larger than life, remarkable for any particular talent or known for some amazing accomplishment, but because, for me, she was the picture of a 1 Peter woman with “. . . the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
When I close my eyes, I can still smell her scent of Johnson’s baby powder, taste her pancakes that were always a bit “mealy” and hear her sweet laugh and her gentle snoring when she fell asleep watching television. We watched Lawrence Welk together, she made me “Nanny specials” (oatmeal cookies with peanut butter in between), she always had cinnamon Dentyne in her pocket book, and lemon drops or circus peanuts in her orange ceramic candy jar. She loved Mr. Whiskers, and she was by far the kindest person I have ever met.
She and her husband, my Papa, who went to be with the Lord five days after I was born, started something way back in 1922 when they had my Aunt Joyce. From there our family grew to the current crew that you see pictured. I’ve lost count of the number, but there are a lot of us. And every year in June we gather for laughter, reminiscing and celebration of the godly, faithful heritage that we share.
My Nanny is not with us anymore. She died in 1995, just shy of her 96th birthday. But the remaining four generations, and hopefully more to come, will continue to gather and celebrate with gratitude what God gave us to help us learn about what FAMILY means.
I hope you have time this summer to be with your family, to reflect on the blessings of God’s design to give us parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins to share life with. And even if you don’t have any relatives nearby, or even relatives that are living anymore, a new family tradition can begin with you as you gather your people, whoever they may be, to learn about what it means to enjoy relationships and make memories that can spread on for generations.