Today, Jackson was asking to see a picture of my mother, so I got down an old photo album. In the back of the photo album, there was a stack of old papers. I started going through them: my old Little League team photo; various academic certificates — perfect attendance in 6th grade, an honor achievement in spelling, another for Bible; an issue of our old high school newspaper with a guest editorial by yours truly; some things I wrote between 1994-95 — short essays I wrote of my own volition in the wake of my mother’s death (which I may post here at a later date); and, best of all, a birthday wish from my Grandmother Bybee.
As the baby of the family, my Grandmother Bybee always made me feel special. I remember going to visit her home for meals; my grandparents didn’t have much but it always seemed like we feasted at their table. Most likely, it was just the hospitality that made us feel “full” at their house. The only thing I dreaded at their house was the hugs and kisses my Grandmother would unleash throughout the visit; I used to think she was trying to squeeze the life out of me with her hugs. But again, you always knew where you stood with Grandmother. Her famous dinner table saying still lives on in our family: “If you don’t see it, don’t ask for it and if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault.” I miss her honesty.
Grandmother was also a poet. Before she died, I recorded some of her poems and writings on a cassette tape. One of these days, I’m going to type them and try and get them published. Nearly every birthday card I ever received from Grandmother had a little verse or two inside. Today, I came across this, the birthday letter she sent me on Nov. 2nd, 1993, my 17th birthday. Written in perfect script on a folded sheet of notebook paper, this was the last item tucked in the back of the photo album I came across today.
It’s love that holds our family close
In a very special way,
It’s love that fills each thought of you,
Today and every day.
And may the joy of God’s blessing,
Be with you today.
May His love be a light,
That will brighten your way.
May God gladden your heart,
And watch over you,
Not just on your birthday,
But all the whole year through.
We love you very much. We are proud of you in so many ways. Have a wonderful day.
Grandmother and Grandaddy Bybee
What a treat to come across these words today, years after my Grandmother’s death. She passed away a few months after she wrote this. But I can still hear her voice as if she were speaking these words of love to me even today. Miss you, Grandmother.