Sunday, January 28, 2007


"You know you lost that pearl ring I gave you, don't you?"

Mimi gave me a real pearl ring when I was 10. 10!! I kept it for a long time, probably longer than many 10 year old girls. I also didn't know it was a real pearl ring until after I lost it, and she asked to see it. Once she found out I lost the pearl ring, she never let me forget it. No matter where I tried to steer the conversation,it always came back to that blasted pearl ring.

But that was Mimi. (We didn't call her grandma. One, because we didn't want a smack on the behind and two, she didn't like it. Said it made her feel old.) She was direct and to the point. She didn't take much off of anyone. She raised seven kids, six of which are serving in a ministry somewhere. Her discipline is legendary. Dad speaks of the time he hid from her so as not to get a spanking, only to be drawn out from under the bed by a passing fire truck. Said he didn't sit comfortably for a week. My aunt speaks of church: Papa preaching hell-fire and brimstone, Mimi with her brood sitting along side her in the pew (three on one side and three on the other), and a switch in her hand. According to my aunt, if one spoke, they all got the switch.

Mimi took down a cousin once because he challenged her. My dad was old enough to remember it. The cousin walked up to her in her kitchen and said, "Yeah, I could take you," to which she promptly put him in a headlock, rolled him across her hip to the floor, then turned to finish making her biscuits. He never tried that again.

That toughness served Mimi well in Sunday School. She taught Junior High for as long as I can remember, and the kids LOVED her. They also called her Mimi, and she saw each of them as part of her extended family. She taught that class well into her 80's.

In recent years, Mimi had been slipping a bit: Not remembering who people were, forgetting to put her teeth in, but she never missed church. She was there every time the doors opened. And if there was a mix up as to who picked her up, she was on the phone making sure somebody did!

One Sunday, while I was visiting, a missionary was in the pulpit, and looked over and saw Mimi. With tears in his eyes, he told her how proud he was of her and her late husband's ministry, how there are scores of people going to heaven as a result of their faithfulness. He ended it all with a tearful thank you, and said he was so happy to see her there on this Sunday. She leaned over to me and said with a not so quiet voice, "Well, I'm here every Sunday!" That's Mimi.

Mimi had a stroke two weeks ago, and we're all sad. Her feistiness isn't as pronounced as it was. She still recognizes some people, but this strong, vibrant woman now has to have others feed her and clothe her. It's heartbreaking to see, but it also speaks to the will and determination of a woman from her time. Our family has many Mimi stories to pass down to our kids. I sure wish I had that pearl ring to pass down, too!

1 comment:

Vicki Caruana said...
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