Thursday, April 21, 2011

For the Love of Gram - Tea and Hats

Grandparents are wonderful people and especially wonderful resources for their grandchildren. Children instinctively know that when their parents lay down the law, it is then possible to take that sentence and submit it to the higher parental authority for review and/or appeal. Once before the high court, grandchildren present their case, throw themselves on the court's mercy and, if necessary, beg for clemency. I freely admit to having invoked the grandchild appeal process described -- with some success -- and learned how to advocate towards hopefully saving the assets of my cousins, my siblings and myself.

Of all my grandparents, my maternal grandmother ("Gram") and I shared a special bond. There was not a time when Gram did not encourage me to go further, to dig deeper, to dream bigger, and to reach higher than she did. Gram made it her business to share my major accomplishments. For me, seeing her seated with my parents made the celebration complete. Above all else, Gram insisted that I be nothing less than a lady at all times and in all places. Thankfully, she was an excellent example to follow and generously shared her wisdom. To say that I miss our conversations is an understatement. However, sweet memories rekindle every time I don a marvelous millinery confection. Hats remind me of my Gram. As a result, hats will always be in style.

Heady Traditions

As a pastor's wife, Gram had plenty to do within her own sphere of influence. (Needless to say, she was "Gram" to me and "Mrs. Carter" to others.) Yet what impressed me about Gram/Mrs. Carter was her ability to galvanize women with different personalities and to empower them to be influential within their communities. How did they accomplish this? Coming together often over tea. When the call came, then it was time to get ready.

Imagine a multicolored, kaleidoscopic ballet of millinery in motion. See the wide and dramatic brims, pert cloches, jaunty feathered caps, and chic berets united. The ladies who wore the hats were just as diverse. They came together crossing geographic lines, denominational boundaries, socioeconomic levels, and marital status, e.g. widowed, to support and to encourage one another. Gram served officially as historian, the one who provided context and information to the issues being discussed. Unofficially, younger ladies would seek her out to learn more about to manage their lives more gracefully.

Lately, I've been missing my Gram and seeing ladies gather. Nevertheless, I am and always will be her granddaughter. That means it's time to put on a hat and come together over tea. Tea, anyone?

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