Have you ever heard the phrase “back in the day”? I laugh to myself every time I hear it. I don’t know why, but it’s funny to me. Years ago, it was something my grandparents used to say when they were speaking of something that happened when they were younger. Now, as I’m much older and a grandparent myself, I hear people my age saying it and it just sounds funny to me.
Yesterday I celebrated a “back in the day” moment. On May 22, 1918 my Mawmaw was born. She was Rosa Lee Holloway then, but later became Rosa Lee McGuire when she married my Papaw, Otice Edward McGuire. I love those two. They were “good people”, as folks used to say back then, “as good as they come”.
I grew up right beside them in a small, country home in Tennessee and loved spending my days at their house more than anything. I learned so much from my Mawmaw. She taught me to cook as early as seven years old. I can remember standing on a chair in her kitchen and helping her mix up cornbread. She was always cooking something, three meals a day. I don’t remember them eating a meal out, ever! And the table was always full, a big variety to choose from. And we always had sweet tea. It was the best!
We spent endless days together just doing what needed to be done. I didn’t care, as long as I was with her, it didn’t matter. She taught me to sew, we worked in the garden. She had the prettiest flower garden I’ve ever seen; rows and rows of so many different kinds of flowers. And on decoration Sunday, we’d pick them and make bouquets for the graves. We covered coffee cans with aluminum foil to put the flowers in. I guess that’s because we were poor, but I didn’t know it. There was lots of love in every can of flowers we took to the cemetery, I did know that.
A huge oak tree stood in the back yard at their house. That tree holds so many memories. From shelling peas and shucking corn to swinging on the old tire swing and eating watermelon straight from the garden. We ran miles and miles in that yard chasing each other and made paths with our bikes from our house to theirs. We had so much fun with them. We knew what NO meant the first time they said it and we also knew what it meant to cut our own switch if we didn’t obey.
Yes, “back in the day” I had so much fun. Now I can only reminisce about those times and try to create memories like that for my grandchildren. I hope when they get older they at least smile when they hear a phrase such as “back in the day” or something that perhaps reminds them of me. Just as I do thinking of my grandparents.