#1,226 Mrs. Dot.
by Erin Napier
My parents are always worrying about my little grandmother living all by her lonesome at 90 years old, and while she is stubbornly independent and refuses to ever leave her home, we’ve all been thinking it would be nice for her to have some help around the house.
A few weeks ago daddy was at a patient’s house where he met Mrs. Dot, the kind, gentle and older (but energetic!) lady who was a caretaker for his patient just while she was recovering from surgery. He immediately felt like there was something special about her, that she had a trustworthy sweetness. He asked if she’d be interested in helping Mammaw, and she came and met our whole family and they all fell totally in love with her. Starting last week, she comes to her house every weekday at 9 am, goes for a walk with her, cooks a big lunch—whatever Mammaw’s heart desires—we’re talking fried okra, butterbeans or from-scratch chicken and dumplings, and helps Mammaw do her chores.
I’ve not gotten the chance to meet her yet, so today we went over after lunch to catch her before she went home at 1. We pulled into the driveway and found Mrs. Dot’s shiny white Cadillac, went inside and were met with big hugs and excited hellos from Mammaw’s new best friend. She’s a radiant person, smiling and warm. Her complexion reminds me of a Hershey bar and her personality is just as sweet. We talked for the longest time and I completely forgot to take her picture. I’m so glad she’s there, keeping watch over what must be a very lonesome way of life for my precious Mother Goose. I think it’s given our family a new lease on life all the way around, since mama and daddy don’t have to worry about her during the day while they’re at work anymore.
Afterward, we picked some Chinese snowballs because they’re my favorite and Mammaw insists that you always have fresh flowers in your house. I wish so badly I had a snowball tree like hers.
Even though she’s got a friend and helper to go walking with, she insisted that she check the mail by herself as we were leaving. And we didn’t argue. She’s made it 90 years doing life her way and I don’t suppose she’s going to change her stripes now.
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I’m Erin Napier, co-owner of Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Co. with my husband, Ben. I’m an artist and he’s a craftsman and we help people moving to our town find and restore old houses on HGTV’s Home Town. In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010. I am a wife, a daughter, a homebody, a bubble bath lover, a book reader, a sentimental, stressed out, slightly obsessive southerner. Welcome!