Esther Cannon Byers, 1907-2006

Got the news this morning that my grandmother had passed away. One of eleven children, she was born when Teddy Roosevelt was President. Raised on a farm in rural South Carolina, she was the kind of person who did whatever it took to get the job done--including killing a poisonous snake when her brother was at the other end of the field with the plow.

I remember her most of all for reading me Will You Come to my Party?...over and over again every time we would visit them. She must have gotten tired of it, but I never did. The story of the hapless squirrel trying to invite his friends to his party but getting turned down (they're all planning a surprise party for him and don't want to blow it) convulsed me with laughter every time she read it.

Well, I say most of all. Perhaps second most would be more accurate. She was famous throughout the family for the portion sizes of her (wonderful) desserts. If you asked for a small piece of cake, it would probably stick off the dessert plate all the way around!

And stubborn? Let's just say I come by it honestly. Once she made up her mind, no power of Heaven or Earth could change it.

The loss of my last surviving grandparent is a little tough to take. You can't exactly complain that a person who lives to be 98 was cheated, but it's another link to the past that's gone. Mama Bear, we'll miss you.


At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

I too have wonderful memories of Mama Byers' baseball size peanutbutter balls. They were the best! She certainly feared not to speak her mind. One Christmas I got her some book by Curtis Hutson. She looked at it with disdain and said, "I'll never read this!" or (something along that line) as I convulsed with laughter!
I remember sleeping in her house under so many homemade quilts that I could barely turn over in the bed. To me her greatest achievement was producing our Dad--one of the finest examples of honest integrity the world has ever seen.


At 8:38 PM, Blogger Dan Burrell said...

So sorry to hear about this, Bob. It's never easy to lose a grandparent -- particularly one that was such a neat part of your life for so long.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My memories of Mama Byers include
- sliding down the hill beside her house (she found a cardboard box for me to use as a sled)
- going to the beach in South Carolina and she stood in one place for hours and watched us kids play in the water
- watching TV at her house, and a gameshow program finished, and before I could get up to turn the TV off, a few seconds of a "Daytime Drama" came on, and she rushed out of her bedroom and exclaimed, "Your parents don't let you watch soap operas do they!?"
- playing checkers with her and knowing that she was letting me win

I'm thankful for all the sweet memories!


At 9:27 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

My condolences, sir.

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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