My Granny's been in the hospital for several days now, recovering from a case of double-pneumonia. She's a sweetheart. Ninety years old this past April. Actually, she's my oldest friend's grandmother, but I've known her since I was 13, so she's been officially adopted for a while now. And, besides, she never fails to tell me that she feels just like I'm one of her "youngins," anyway, so that is good to know.
I wouldn't presume to share her name with the world unless I knew it was okay with her, but her very initials would tell you something about her: E.R.T.H. As in "Mother Earth" or "salt of the earth." Granny comes from good Southern stock, with lots of English and Cherokee mingled in her. In fact, if I'm not mistaken (and how very much I would like to confirm this some day), she is descended from some Cherokee who roamed the foothills of the Smoky Mountains ---men like Pumpkin Boy, Nettle Carrier, Old Tassel, and Double Head. These were the uncles and cousins of a half-breed named Robert Benge, whose enemies (and victims) called "The Bench." It was The Bench and his men who, one cold night in the fall of 1793, murdered my great-great-great-grandfather, Robert Sharp, outside a blockhouse near Maryville, Tennessee.
And, so, I think it says something about this country and its character (and the ineffable mystery of coincidence) that the descendants of men who hunted each other down in a race of war of two centuries ago can grow to know and love each other. Granny has been a blessing in my life and I hope that she might think, in some small way, the same of me.