Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Bernice Johnson Griggs (July 8, 1919-July 10, 2005)


Bernice Johnson Griggs, otherwise known as Ma to her eight granddaughters, was a phenomenal woman.  She lived big, cooked bigger and loved biggest of all.  Not a day goes by that something doesn't remind me of my Ma. 

Growing up, Ma lived on the farm in Dovesville.  It is here that she and Pa raised tobacco, livestock, and four beautiful children.  And those four children blessed her with eight granddaugthers.  As one of those granddaughters, I enjoyed time on the farm.  We spent many a Sunday afternoon gathered at her table with her famous biscuits.  And after lunch, we played in the yard...which was a great playground to growing girls.  I enjoyed the nights that my cousin, Summer, and I would spend the night with Ma.  She would treat us to nail polish and ice cream.  She taught me to shuck corn and shell beans.  She taught me to love family most of all. 

I have so many warm memories of time with Ma, but one of my favorites takes me back to my sophomore year at Clemson.  My sorority sisters and I were preparing for Spring Break in the Bahamas.  When I checked my mail at the post office a few days before my trip, I had a care package from Ma.  It contained a roll of toilet paper, a tube of toothpaste, a can of black-eyed peas, and a present.  A present with a card.  Every card from Ma had hand drawn hearts and a special message.  This message said..."Have fun on your trip!  Here is a little something that I picked up from Belk's for you to take with you."  Oh boy, was I excited!  And then I opened was a beach described as  a muumuu.  A floral MUUMUU with a zipper down the front.  My roommate almost fell over laughing.  I still get a case of the giggles when I think about it!  I finally told her after I graduated that I did not wear the muumuu in the Bahamas.

My husband never had the pleasure of meeting Ma, but I tell him countless stories about how special she was.  And when we eat one of my Aunt Jane's biscuits, I get a little reminder of how Ma lives on in the hearts of her family.  When my daughter was born, I told her how beautiful she was....and thought of Ma.  Because Ma was right when she said..."there are no ugly people in our family."  I have no doubt that every time our sweet family gathers together Ma smiles down from heaven...after all, she loved nothing more than for her family to be together.

Happy Birthday Ma!  I love you and miss you! 

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