April 27, 2011
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We roll across the rocky driveway in my dads' light blue Chevrolet pick-up truck. I gaze out into the field, the horses are out grazing and the lights are on in the small trailer. As soon as you pull onto the property, you feel that sweet southern comfort engulf you. The wafting scent of scrumptious sausage gravy cooking in the skillet; Fresh cut grass in the non-polluted air; the sound of horses neighing in the barn off in the distance; warm apple pie cooling on the stove; Nothing but nature surrounds you, no cars or busy city streets. That's sweet southern comfort. I walk up the steps and onto the porch. I knock on the sturdy door, anxiously awaiting the appearance of Reatha.

There she stood, arms open wide, ready for a big hug. The sweet southern comfort was there more than ever now. It's what I live for. She was in her blue robe, fitted perfectly to her slender body. Her dark brown hair which is identical to mine, was in the same style as always. A curly mess, brittle, and just enough to cover her head. She wore white bedroom slippers that fit her feet just right. Her glasses were snuggly fit to her face. I always look forward to seeing Reatha. But why do you know so little about her when she is such an important person to the story, and my life?

Reatha was born in West Virginia. On her last birthday she was in her mid-seventys. She married Delford and had three children, Donna, David, and Joyce. Reatha was always a hard worker but usual parent, grandparent, and great grandparent. Her rules? Be strict and discipline your children, and spoil your children and great grandchildren! She has so much love to give, and she always had enough to go around! Her husband died when she was in her mid- fifties, and she was widowed. Reatha was left to take care of the children by herself. She also worked at the Chrysler plant, putting on bumpers. In that day this was considered a mans' job. She worked there for most of her life. Now, several years later, she has 3 children, 8 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. She is known by several names. However I like to call her Mal, Muck, and Maw-Maw. I am one of the 18 great grandchildren, Reatha is my great grandmother and I love spending time with her.

Maw-Maw always is friendly and kind. People adored her. She just has one of those faces, the kind that drew people to her. It made people just want to hold a conversation with her. Even random people in the grocery store would walk up to her and start talking. I guess it runs in the family. My Dad, his brothers, my Mommom, Maw-Maw, all of my cousins on my dad's side, and I have the same quality. I assume it's because we just look friendly, so people like to talk to us! It happens all of the time! Maw-Maw had high cheek bones just like me. It's the American Indian blood, which runs strong on my dads' side. That's where Maw-Maw got her love for nature, cooking, family, and animals. The Native American blood also gave her there common traits, strong-willed and stubborn. They gave her beautiful chocolate brown hair and a great tan complexion. She was always one of the prettiest ladies at church on Sunday, and always got compliments on her appearance; and her cooking too! She was a wonderful cook and won many competitions. She loved cooking, and everyone agreed she had a natural talent for it.

The only bad thing i could ever think of Maw-Maw was that she smoked, and she stopped after she was diagnosed with throat cancer. This is just one of many obstacles in her life that she overcame. Including the death of her husband. She new when the time was right to have fun, and also the time to be serious. She loved cooking, hunting, and fishing, just like the rest of my family! In fact, my Uncle holds the state record for many types of fish. As well as the rest of my family. I've had a fair share of titles myself. So has Maw-Maw, It's a family sport. I think we have the right to say we are known for our hunting and fishing skills. But then the day came when Maw-Maw couldn't do that anymore, the phone call I dreaded.

The phone rang, my dad answered it. He replied with several non-energetic yes's and some Oh really's. I knew this wasn't good. When he got off the phone, he said Maw-Maw had fell at her house, and now she was in the hospital. Things all went down hill from there. She had several small strokes, an after that she only lived about a month longer. She had a major stroke in her sleep, which caused a detriment to her brain, and that killed her. The last time I saw her is still to painful for me to recollect. She left us all behind, 28 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in all. Including a countless number of relatives from all over the country. We have stuff to remind us of her, especially all of her recipes. Maw-Maw was really special to me and there isn't a day that goes by that i don't think of her. I miss her very vey much but i know she is in a much better place now that she isn't in pain. She was a really great person and if everyone in the world was like her, we would be a near perfect place. But most importantly, I know that she loved and cared about me a lot, and that's what counts. Rest in Peace Maw-Maw!

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