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Sweet Granny

I have heard it said that no one remembers what one said or what one did, but more than anything what we remember is how someone made us feel.  I don’t believe there is anyone here that knew Dora Mae Garrett and can say she ever made them feel anything but loved.

Garrett chose perfectly when he named our grandmother, “Sweet Granny”.   She was the essence of sweetness and a very interesting person.

She was the sister of 14 siblings, and the only child in her family to graduate from high school. She laughingly remembered asking her parents if they would attend her graduation, and was a little relieved when they said no because she was a bit embarrassed by her father’s mustache.

She was on the girl’s basketball team in high school and was nicknamed Doorbell, she took French, had artistic skills, and was in her senior play in high school as a juror, where she first became interested in fellow juror, and her future husband, Herbert Oscar Garrett.

She told the story of the first time she was disciplined when her brother, Noah, suggested they should plant some of the peas in the garden and put the others in a tree stump or throw them in the woods.

She had two cows growing up, named Flower and Rose, and thought Flower gave buttermilk and Rose gave sweet milk. 

Another fun memory from childhood she shared was her dishwashing assignment with sister, Dovie.  They were supposed to take turns washing and drying the dishes. Granny had 2 nickels given to her by Mama Cato.  Granny told Aunt Dovie she would give her a nickel each time she washed the dishes on her turn and would place Dovie’s nickel in a dish on top of the kitchen cabinet.  After some time, Dovie decided to count her nickels and realized Granny had been paying her with the same 2 nickels over and over.

She married, Herbert Garrett, and when she told her father of her engagement his reply was, “He sure is a straight shooter.”  The wedding was performed by Rev. William Buttram, father of Pat Buttram, the sidekick of cowboy star, Gene Autrey. 

Sweet Granny became the mother of two beautiful daughters: Shelba Jean and Glenda Rae.

Her sister-in-laws invited her to Liberty Baptist Church and she attended even though her husband did not at that time.  She gave her life to Christ, here at Liberty Baptist at the age of 23.  She continued to take her daughters to church and eventually Papa joined them and became a Baptist minister.  She was the guiding light leading all of her family to Christ.

Galatians 5:22 states, “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Sweet Granny’s Christianity was not a secret as she allowed the Holy Spirit to live through her and demonstrate all of the Fruits of the Spirit so beautifully.

She was the prime example of love in her devoted love to all of us.  She would pat us on the cheek and never said II love you” but rather “we love you” as she thought of herself united as one with Papa even years after he went to Heaven.  She loved us without condition, even when we were not very loveable.

Her joy shone through, when on life’s mountain tops and through the valleys of life’s journey.  She loved to laugh and have fun. She played Rook, dominoes, checkers, word games, party games, and served as Kolby’s soccer goalie up until her 80th birthday.  One of her favorite past-times was going to the flea market with Papa, where she always got the best deal.  She lovingly cooked for all of us.  We all adored her peas, okra, and corn, salmon patties and biscuits and gravy, remember her pancakes, hot cake out of the oven without icing, ice milk ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup from a can, and peanut butter and jelly on saltine crackers that would squeeze through the holes.

Peace and Patience were her garments as she chose to put them on each day.  She hummed peacefully as she worked in the house or in the garden, and demonstrated great patience as wife to our precious, and Big Papa Bear grandfather.  She patiently took his food to his recliner and picked up the tray he left beside his chair without ever complaining.

Kindness and Goodness were attributes that came easily for Sweet Granny.  She always had a kind word and something good to say about everyone. I said to her not long ago, “Granny, I have never heard you act out in anger, lose your temper, or say a bad thing about anyone.”  She replied, “That’s right.”  She set forth in life to imitate Jesus, and she did.

She was faithful to her Baptist minister husband, her family, and her Lord.  She always went to church and we all have fond memories of going to church with them. 

Self-control never seemed to be a problem for her as she set goals, exercised every day, and as much as she loved sweets she had the self-control to know her limits.

Lastly, Sweet Granny demonstrated gentleness.  1 Peter 3:4 speaks of the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” Everyone that knows her speaks of her gentle spirit. 

In the last few years Granny loved making potholders, sing hymns, and reading fairy tales. On her last Monday night, Terri, Granny and I shared our last fairy tale.  We assigned each person a role and Granny’s part in the story was Little Red Riding Hood’s Granny.  Her line was “Open the door and come in, my dear” and she said it beautifully.  I believe if she could talk to us today she would ask each of us, if Jesus is at the door of your heart, “open the door and tell Him to come in, my dear.”  In the last few months , at times I would think she slept through stories, yet at the end of the story she always said with me, “and they lived happily ever after” and we know that she lives happily ever after now.


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