There is a woman not included on my great mothers list. She is not there because I did not have a photograph of her. My Granny, Dorothy Fountain Cody Hall. My mother’s mother was a remarkable woman. Her friends called her Dot. She livedÂ at 150 Tuscaloosa Street in Mobile, Alabama. That was the house my momma grew up in. ItÂ was a special place. We would drive to Mobile every year from Miami. Before there was a Florida Turnpike, we drove up Hwy 27. We drove through Quincey, home of the state mental hospital. It usually took 2 days. When I was little we drove there in the “Happy Wagon”. This was a wood paneled station wagon. The back seat folded down and my sisters and I would ride the whole way sitting and playing cards or the alphabet game or sleeping. I don’t think that car had air conditioning. I wonder what my kids would do for 900 miles with no A/C, DVD or PS2.
Granny’s house had a river rock driveway. We could sit for hours digging in the rocks looking for that special rock. There was a narrow, slate, stone walkway around the back of the house and the carport. My Granny had planted monkey grass around all the flower beds and pathway edges. The yard had a pecan tree and azaleas. There was a special hiding place in the far, back corner behind the carport that was always cool despite summer heat. It smelled of rich, dank soil and paper mill. Mobile had an active papermill and while most people despise that smell, I associate with my Granny.
Granny always kept water cold in her refridgerator in this yellow plastic canister. I have seen this canister at antigue dealers for sale for over $50.Â Â She also always had Pop Tarts, Sugar Smacks, Pringles and Bugles. She would make Sunday Dinner, which in the South, is served at 12 noon and was a full dinner. She would make a pot roast with rice or sweet potatoes,Â green beans, homemade yeast rolls and some kind of pie, or Sock It To Me cake. Sometimes she’d make a few chickens and then later Sunday evening we would eat cold chicken on Dandee white bread with Miracle Whip. Sometimes the men would go shrimping or softshelling and when they came home, my Granny would fried soft shell crabs at 3 am for the men to eat. When we visited she would make Jumbalaya, which is a rice and shrimp dish with a tomato base. It is usually spicy. My Granny would say, “I didn’t make it spicey just for you all.” And it would be so spicy you would drink 4 glasses of water with the meal.
I often think of her in the kitchen, standing looking out the window over the sink into her back yard.Â She had a slingshot hanging at her back door and she could pick off any Mockingbird or Blue jay with one pea stone. My Granny was a solitary woman most of her life as she was widowed when my mom was only 4 years old. She buried her husband William when she was pregnant with my Aunt Connie. She raised those girls alone by sewing fancy dresses for all the society ladies in Mobile and making Mardi Gras costumes for the parades. She would hand-sequin masks for the Mardi Gras ball to match her gown every year. She had a police scanner in her kitchen and it was fascianting listening to the patrol cars in the town. We could walk across the street to the drug store and buy ice cream bars.
Her front porch was a wonderful place to sit and read. It was high up from the side walk and screened in. The porch had a two seated metal glider on it.
I miss my Granny. She died when my oldest sone was less than a year old. She was in her kitchen.