Gran's Apple Butter Blog

August 24, 2010

2/V All the Boys and Girls

Filed under: Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 10:58 am

Chapter 2 – All the Boys and Girls
Excerpt from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Yes, Gran was pretty solid in her beliefs. Over the years I discovered the secret of her steadfastness. For a long time I thought she was so sure of everything because she knew it all, but slowly I began to see that her secret lay not in knowing it all, but in knowing that she didn’t know it all, and in always staying flexible and open to learning a little more, to gleaning a nugget of wisdom from each conversation, each book, each person in her life. Perhaps most important was her conscious decision that she could be good with that – with the not-knowing. (That’s not an easy one…)

For example, as a sure-of-myself grownup, I can remember walking in and being shocked to find Gran knee-deep in the Koran. She wasn’t just knee-deep, she was tea-deep, and anyone who knew Gran and her tea knew what that meant. She was into it, deep in thought, wheels turning; you could almost see the smoke. This wasn’t a very politically correct thing to be into, given the time and the political bent in our neck of the woods.

I’d self-righteously questioned her about this. Didn’t this contradict the yellow ribbons she had covering every tree trunk and fence post in her front yard? What was she thinking? And Gran had smiled. She never got upset when I questioned her – a skill I have yet to learn. With love in her voice she said absolutely not, that actually, those two things went perfectly together. Fluttering in the breeze, her ribbons were like Tibetan prayer flags, sending a message of hope and love to bring the boys and girls safely home, a little older, a little wiser, and all in one piece. All the boys and girls. Not just the ones from her neighborhood.

After all, she said, that book was awfully important to a lot of people around the world – people who worshipped the same God that Abraham prayed to. And if that many people felt so strongly about something, were as willing to die for their beliefs as I was for mine, well, wasn’t there a small chance that there might just be at least a seed of truth in all those pages? So what if we could find that seed and grow it up into a whole amazing tree of truth – maybe like the mighty oak that served as her favorite Sunday picnic perch? What then?

Gran was just like that. She didn’t always say what you wanted to hear, but I learned pretty quick that whatever she said was worth listening to and maybe even pondering a bit later in the day. She could look at anything and see through the surface clutter and distractions to what lay below. She certainly seemed to be able to see through me. And she could look at other things and places and people and beliefs around the world and somehow find an underlying theme of sameness, a familiarity that she felt rang true. Something that felt like Home.

I miss your earthy wisdom, Gran (at least, all the parts that didn’t involve ‘possum lips, which, by the way, I knew you were kidding). And yet it’s comforting to realize that at least a small part of your words remains in me, in my memories. I may not have inherited your wisdom (I still have a lot of bridges to cross to earn that), but at least I learned most of your euphemisms, although I’m still not completely sure what they all mean… what, exactly, is a hill of beans worth?

But at least now I can throw ‘em out with the best of ‘em and get my own strange looks. Thanks, Gran….

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!


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