Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Remembering our Grandparents - Godfrey & Bessie Isaacs

National Grandparents Day - September 13th, 2009

You’d have to be a Godly woman to give birth to 17 children in a rustic log cabin nestled in the hidden mountains of Eastern Kentucky! Even more unimaginable is doing it without electricity, running water, or a doctor! Now imagine how many years you would have to be with child to accomplish that… My Grandma Bessie was one of the sweetest, kindest, most patient women in the world, and she is my role model for maternal sanity. Dad was her youngest, the 17th child born to this amazing woman and her hard working Pentecostal preaching, farming husband, Grandpa Godfrey.

Growing up with hundreds of first cousins and thousands of extended family members (some who you just had to pretend to know) made family reunions a blast and going home to Grandma’s more like a party than a visit. Comfortably squeezed into 3 small bedrooms, I fondly recall those occasional overnight stays up on their mountain… Ahh the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace and the oil lanterns flickering on the newspaper covered ceilings above… the sound of creaking wooden floors, and the whispers of little girls just after the lantern was blown out “Mommy, I gotta go to the bathroom!” Only instead of her walking us down the hall, Mom would simply pull the pot out from under the bed and assure us that it was much better than having to walk up the hill to the outhouse in the dark!

Breakfast was always a feast, and Grandma would wake up before the sun did to make it every morning… soft, moist, made from scratch biscuits covered in perfectly stirred gravy with skillet fried potatoes and some good ole salty country ham, which I always found a little hard to swallow after watching the pigs out in the pen just the day before! But boy could she cook! And boy could we eat... but never until after we gathered in the living room for not just a word of thanks, but a “get down on your knees and thank God” prayer! Faith was the center of their existence. God was everything to them… their Provider, their Keeper, their Helper. I don’t recall ever seeing Grandma get upset about anything, and never heard her say an unkind word to or about anyone. She was the closest thing to an Angel that I’ve ever seen and I’ll never forget how hard I cried the day God called her back to heaven.

Before she left us we had the opportunity to record Grandma Bessie singing some of the songs we loved to hear her sing growing up. I always smile when I think about it because she had no idea how the recording process works. She didn’t understand that you have to be very quiet when you finish a song, and almost every time she would say something that we would later have to erase. Finally Dad stood just behind the recording glass and at the end of the song held his finger to his lips to remind her to be quiet. Unaware that even the quietest noise would make it to tape, she softly whispered “ok” to his request, and we all just smiled at each other knowing that we were blessed to inherit the gift of her love and her heart for God, family and music.

by: Sonya Isaacs

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Gina said...

Awww.... Thanks Sonya for sharing this with us. What a beautiful memory. I can't wait to see the old home place!

Amber Ellis said...

That is such a precious gift to have of your sweet grandmother. I'm so glad she lived because without her, we wouldn't be blessed with your family's beautiful music! Thanks for sharing :)

True Believer said...

Soooo cute! ...gotta love our g-mas. hehe that's what ya call real "mountain" gospel music.. nothing fancy, just making a joyful noise unto the Lord! now, she's singing w/ the angels... just like in the song on ure new cd! :)