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When I was a child, my grandparents were West Texas cotton farmers. It was a hard life, maintaining the farm, the animals, and growing almost everything we ate.
My younger brother, Brice, and I spent a lot of time on the farm, and we loved every moment.
Grandaddy shook us awake at 4:30 a.m. In winter, it was hard to get out of bed.
The farmhouse was heated by space heaters during the day, but the nights were bitterly cold. We pulled our clothes on over our pajamas, because it was too cold to undress. Brice helped Grandaddy milk the cows and feed the animals, and Memaw and I made breakfast. We put on our aprons—she made a special, smaller apron for me. I stood on a chair as close to her as I could get and we made biscuits. We had homemade blackberry jam, fried eggs, ham or bacon from pigs raised on the farm and coffee. Brice and I drank coffee just as they did, strong and sweet. I always brought a doll on our visits and she was allowed to have a place at the table. My dolls were also well dressed; my grandmother made their clothes with great flair and attention.
After breakfast, Brice and Grandaddy went outside to the interminable farm chores while Memaw and I began to prepare lunch. The farm provided our meat, eggs, milk, butter, fruits and vegetables. As we worked, we talked and laughed and told stories. In the afternoon, we watched As The World Turns together and gossiped about the characters; Lisa was our favorite.
When Brice and I were very young, we each slept with a grandparent. I remember falling asleep holding Memaw’s hand as she told me stories of her childhood. Sometimes she told me her dreams.
Our days were disciplined and warm and loving. The sacred love our grandparents showed us, in all of their actions, continues to bring us joy.