Tuesday, May 4, 2021

"Y'all Have Fun"

“Y’all Have Fun”

For the first twenty-one years of my life, I often heard the phrase, “Y’all have fun.” They were words spoken by my grandmother whenever we were parting. I’m confident they were the last words I ever heard her say.

I’ve pondered over the years the why of that instruction.

I’ll never know for sure because she died when I was in college, and I didn’t think to ask her while she was still with us. But I have a theory.

It’s an understatement to say my grandparents did not have easy lives. They raised nine children and took on one more during the heart of the Great Depression. They made their living as sharecroppers and then later as mill workers starting work before dawn keeping at it until dark. When I stayed with them as a child, my grandfather in his late seventies and eighties still rose at 4:30 to tend a garden. My grandmother would can vegetables and dry apples. They raised flowers to sell. Her own mother died when my grandmother was fourteen and she then became the woman of the house raising her siblings. Another reason her life was difficult.

My grandparents in their garden

I believe she wanted for her children and grandchildren a life that would not be so arduous—a life that would include more fun. For me, when I think of the time spent at her house, that in itself was fun. On hot summer days, we would rock on the front porch and drink RC Colas or Grape Nehis as we watched cars pass. We’d wind through the garden paths and gawk at the brilliant dinner plate dahlias that loomed over us, stick our noses in country rose blooms and inhale their fragrance maybe pick a few. As the day faded into the evening, we’d go back to the porch to watch fireflies sparkle in the dark. Those activities would probably seem to kids today the most banal thing they could think of, but they were wonders to me and my sister.

Our grandmother was a woman of whom it could be said she never raised her voice—an oasis of calm. I've written here before of her admonition, "You have to bite your tongue" and how I wish I had tattooed it on my forehead. Her stories like making a dress out of the curtains a la Scarlet O’Hara make me smile. She gave us so many wonderful memories which still bring us joy.

Fun often falls to the bottom of the list around here and as I was speaking with friends recently, I was reminded of what my grandmother used to say. We need to be intentional about having fun to stay balanced in our lives, to keep our joy.  After a year like we’ve all had, it’s even more necessary. Solomon reminds us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven . . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4).

So, here’s your instruction for this week. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day, and please remember the words of my grandmother.

 “Y’all have fun.”

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