One of the best things about taking care of my parents is getting to hear bits about their lives that I would probably have missed otherwise.
Like tonight, out of the blue, my mom told me that her Grandma Thomley cooked fantastic meals on her wood stove and that she always had sweet potatoes baking in there. She also said that Grandma Thomley picked cotton up until the year before she died at 92 or 93 and that she was a "go-getter."
"She cooked until she died," Mom said. This gave me pause. I wondered if I would even want to cook until I died. Already at age 55, some days I am pretty tired of cooking.
Then Mom remembered that she and Dad stopped to visit Grandma Thomley early in their marriage, and she was cooking cornbread and talking with them. My dad said, "You better pay attention to that cornbread," and Grandma Thomley said, "I know what I'm doin'," not snarky, just as a statement of fact, according to my mom. She was in her 80s at the time.
Previously the only thing my mom told me about Grandma Thomley was that she lived in a dogtrot cabin and that when she spied my mama and her twin sister coming down the road to her house, she would start in making chocolate tarts for them, and they were the best chocolate tarts ever. As background my mom had told me that the extended family always did their hog killing at the Thomley grandparents' home and that when my grandmother experimented with the new-fangled margarine that came out during the Great Depression, the kind you had to add artificial coloring to, my mother would resolutley walk to her grandparents' house to get real butter, because the margarine was nasty. Some things never change!