Now Playing: maybe a little Bob Wills
Edith Ruth (Tiner) Hemphill passed away yesterday at St. David's Hospital in Austin, Texas. She was and always will be the beloved maternal grandmother of two of my oldest friends, Robert and Kenny Jones. And, I am proud to say, she almost never let me go without reminding me that I, too, was just like one of her own.
I probably met Granny in September or October of 1982 when I first began spending time at her home at Robert's invitation. She was a fine cook in the old Southern tradition and a "Granny meal" was something to look forward to: she'd fry up steaks and patties, potatoes and gravy, beans and greens, and make delicious cornbread and sweet tea. She was a generous and hospitable woman and I will miss her kitchen.
In those first few years when so many of my weekends were spent in her home, she couldn't have known how important her hospitality was to me. Looking back on how close Jones and I were, it's impossible to imagine our friendship without our reliance on Granny's warmth and acceptance, too. She loved Robert and Kenny so dearly that I couldn't have escaped that feeling myself ---even if I had wanted to.
Granny was incredibly active and was constantly out walking and running errands on foot. But, so often, I would be in the area, either in my own car or doing my patrols at the DPS, and I would stop and give her a ride to wherever she was going. I broke the rules a few times doing that, which I think she must have known, but I didn't care. And I didn't want her to care, either. I felt better for doing it, even though I know she would have been just as happy to have walked it out, anyway.
But over these 21 years, I have always kept any eye out for Granny and her home. I always felt like it was the right thing to do.
There are so many memories I could share with you right now, but my overwhelming sense is simply one of peacefulness ---for her sake. I know her grandsons are grieving, but I am thinking of all the times we would go eat Chinese food on her birthday (Why Chinese? I still don't know!); or sit out in the back yard and talk about the weather or complain about the economy; or the times she'd sew some button or patch for me; or all the times when she knew but wouldn't say....
"...but the greatest of these is Charity..."
Good bye, Granny. Christ keep you.