Our Grandmother Pollard
My children grew up thinking that there was only one GREAT grandmother in their lives: Grandmother Pollard. Oh, there was at least two grandmothers they knew and three great-great grandmothers that they had met, but Grandmother Pollard was always the only person they knew who was just called Grandmother. She loved the title and our niece and nephew and even my sister-in-law called her Grandmother. She was happy to be a grandmother to just about anyone who needed one.
Everyone NEEDS a grandmother. Mine just happened to be the best in Clay County, Texas. I knew she was the best around partly because Granddad Pollard loved her so much. Whenever he needed her to go chase sheep or otherwise do something a little odd, she was willing to try. I never saw her drive a tractor, but I can imagine that she would have tried if Granddad had asked her to. But my memory of her pretty much claims her spot in the kitchen and in the garden or even in the cellar during storms. Back before the old farm house had indoor plumbing, Grandmother would fill up an old number 10 washtub and have me take a bath on Saturday night before we were to go to church the next day. She taught a class of young kids my age at the Methodist Church. She always seemed to have something special to keep them coming back to class. If nothing else, she bragged on them for knowing scriptures that she had asked them to read.
When I was a child, all birthday parties that I ever had were organized by Grandmother Pollard. She also saw to it that my brother and I had a new Easter “outfit” for that Sunday, as well. My mom did not approve of shorts, so Grandmother Pollard had GRANDDAD take me to Alcorn’s in Henrietta to buy my first short set—a sailor suit that had shorts. I actually got to wear it since Granddad had bought it for me. Grandmother knew how to get around my mother and her ideas of what was acceptable for little girls.
Grandmother also liked to organize groups of women so that they could enjoy each other and learn something at the same time. She had book clubs, Home Demonstration club, the Methodist Ladies’ club, and assorted community clubs that met in her home or in the homes of one of her friends. She got Granddad to organize the local Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association so that those in Clay County who had sheep could combine forces to hire shearers each year and find better breeding stock as well as find better markets for their wool. My grandparents also provided lambs for the young teens that needed projects for their FFA or 4H animals.
Grandmother always seemed to know what was needed in our community and found ways of filling the need. One year she had me going with her from house to house as we raised money for the March of Dimes. She said that she never worried about going up to someone’s porch with me because I seemed to know every dog in town! A year or so later she took me with her while she volunteered for the Red Cross in Wichita Falls. Back then they still used bottles for blood donations. We did not donate any blood, but we certainly got the bottles ready.
Grandmother Pollard thought my husband was a grand guy and wanted to be sure that I fed him well and kept him happy. She told me that a man who provided for his family, who did not drink or leave us at home alone, and who played with his children was worth every effort to keep happy. When we needed her to come and stay with our two children when the last baby was born, she was so excited that she packed without putting any underwear in her suitcase. To this day, all of the family laugh and tell each other to be sure and not to pull a Grandmother Pollard when we pack our suitcases!
Finally, when I think how freely she loved all of us and how she made us all feel so special as individuals, I know why I have tried to be like her when I hold my grandchildren. I want them to know that I will always love them—just as she always loved me.