February 16 was my grandparents’ birthday. Just two days after Valentine’s Day, how romantic is that!
Thomas Edwin Rose was born, in Lexington, Oklahoma, Feb. 16, 1909, and Lela Mae Scott was born two years later on Feb. 16, 1911 near Wanette, Oklahoma. Today* would have been her 100th birthday.
Here’s my grandmother, Lela Mae Scott (Rose) at age 10. She’s second from the right. From left: Mommy, Caldona Crouch Scott (she refused to be called grandma), Uncle Mac, Aunt Bill (Dorine), Aunt Syble, Grandma, and Uncle Luke (Luther). They lived in far southeast Cleveland County, Oklahoma, very near the Pottawatomie County line.
Grandma went to school through the eighth grade then she took care of the house while Mommy and her brothers and sisters worked the farm. Poppy was not always at home, but that’s another story.
When grandma fixed fried chicken and chicken and dumplins for Sunday dinner her preparations usually started out back in the chicken pen. I never saw her do it, but I hear she could wring a chicken’s neck with one sharp snap of her wrist. And as much as I couldn’t do that I know the chicken she fed us was healthy, stress free and never crated. Talk about farm fresh.
Grandma worked hard all her life but once the dishes were done and the leftovers put away she was always ready for a game of Hop Ching… also known as Chinese Checkers. She also liked a good game of dominoes. And when we were all in front of a football game… specifically the Oklahoma Sooners or the Dallas Cowboys, she had a crochet hook and ball of yarn in hand making slippers, pot holders, or some other project.
One Thanksgiving the whole family was at the farm and the weather was nice so all the cousins were playing outside. A dozen or more round hay bales had been delivered to the farm recently and they were lined up in the near pasture. The bales were about 5 feet in diameter rolled up side by side so of course we had to climb on them.
We were having a blast scambling from bale to bale, playing tag and if you stepped just wrong, you’d fall in the crack between the bales and someone would have to dig you out. That’s what made it so much fun.
There was so much laughing!
Before we knew it grandpa and the moms and dads were out there too, and then here comes grandma. I can still see her laughing as she ran toward us. She was wearing a house dress drying her hands on a tea towel. It may have been tied around her waist as a makeshift apron. In no time at all we pulled her into our game and on top of the hay.
I’m sure we were all terribly itchy from rolling around in that dry hay all afternoon, but I don’t remember that part. I just remember the fun and realizing my grandma was a whole lot of fun. She played hard when the work was done.
Grandma died May 22, 1993 in Oklahoma City. Even though she was 82 years old, she certainly didn’t die of old age. She was going strong until shortly before she died. It was stomach cancer that got her.
I wish I’d paid more attention when I was in the kitchen with her, but I cherish the memories and lessons I got from her. She taught me how to cut up a chicken. (I’m OK after the bird is dead, but she knew better than to take me to the chicken coop except to gather eggs.)
I got her recipe for bread pudding when I took her to the hospital for one of her visits. (I was driving, so I had her tell me how she made it and I memorized it.)
My first two quilts were assembled under her supervision and quilted in her living room. I think half of Lexington came by her house to work on my quilts. They were quilted in no time.
I learned a pot of beans on the stove before we go to the garden will be ready when we get back to the house with an apron full of fresh green onions and tomatoes.
She would ladle a serving of beans into a wide shallow bowl. A slice of fresh hot cornbread went on the side or on top of the beans, add green onions, sliced tomatoes, still warm from the summer sun, a spoonful of homemade chow chow (pickle relish) and you’ve got the best summertime lunch ever! Larrupin!
So happy birthday grandma and grandpa! I can’t wait to hear favorite memories from my brothers and cousins.
*Their birthday is Feb. 16, but technical difficulties with my scanner delayed my posting until after midnight.