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Politics

What Shall We Say About Grandmothers?

Danny Tyree on

Yes, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since February 20, 1971 - but it’s still hard to believe that Granny Tyree (my father’s mother) has been gone for 50 years.

Oh, I shouldn’t have been caught off-guard. All the joys, sorrows, friendships, jobs, technological innovations and cultural upheavals of five decades leave this former 10-year-old with only hit-and-miss memories of Sarah Elizabeth Gipson Tyree (a.k.a. “Sallie Bet”).

Perhaps I’ll consult my older cousins when I write my memoir (“The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tyree”), but right now I’m frustrated that I can’t remember (or worse, never appreciated) Granny’s favorite color, favorite food or the distinctive qualities of her voice.

So, I try to focus on the big picture of how she directly or indirectly (through Dad) shaped the person I am today.

Would I have such a thirst for knowledge if she hadn’t encouraged my father, my uncle and my aunts to get an education? What about if she hadn’t exhibited her love of books, magazines and newspapers? (My mother the workaholic confided that she used to hate visiting her in-laws and finding everyone sitting around - ugh! - READING.)

Would I be a newspaper columnist now if Granny hadn’t gotten me hooked on seeing my youthful witticisms in print by submitting them to the “It Happened Hereabouts” column in the “Nashville Tennessean” Sunday magazine?

 

Is it pure coincidence that I’m syndicated by Cagle Cartoons, or did Granny’s scrapbook of World War II editorial cartoons plant an idea?

Would I fight so hard to leave an “I was here!” message if not for the diaries Granny kept?

Didn’t my writing of an inspirational book owe a little something to Granny’s religious convictions, which still resonate in descendants undreamed of during her lifetime?

How did I learn to look for the silver linings in life? Perhaps it partly stems from the sense of humor Granny maintained as she faced the cancer that cut her life short just days before her 64th birthday. (I’m still haunted by memories of ultimately futile “cobalt treatments.” But at least Granny could get a chuckle from a hospital roommate who matter-of-factly informed a visitor, “I’ve done had my whole hysterectomy took out!”)

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Copyright 2021 Danny Tyree, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com
 

 

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