Granny Ross

I’m sorry it’s been almost a week since I’ve posted here at The first few days of idleness were intentional; they were my Thanksgiving break. But on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, my grandmother died, and I spent the weekend offline and in Georgia until her funeral on Monday. My grandmother was a beautiful woman in every way and a joy to the end of her ninety-two years. In the picture to the left she was at least ninety. She had a dignity and grace that had nothing to do with her outward circumstances. In her honor, I wanted to tell a little story that says a lot about who she was and where she came from. My grandmother Evelyn was born 1918 in Pitts, Georgia, a tiny little town in Wilcox County. She was one of eight children in a loving and lively family that worked hard to scratch a living out of South Georgia’s sandy soil. There were two older brothers—Carl and Oliver—and then six beautiful girls: Leone, Aline, Irene, Judy, Evelyn, and Audrey. Evelyn was the one with flaming red hair—a slip of a girl with a ready smile and blue eyes that were quick and kind.

On Evelyn’s ninth birthday, her brothers—who had gone away to Florida to seek their fortune—sent her a little money for her birthday. She spent it on a correspondence course to learn to play the piano. This in spite of the fact that her family had no piano.

But Evelyn loved beauty, and she believed in things she couldn’t see as firmly as she believed in things she could.  When the correspondence course arrived in the mail, she found a plank and measured and marked the 88 keys of a piano—the white keys and the black keys containing every musical possibility there is, if only in the imagination of a little girl who heard music where others heard silence.

Every day she pounded away on that plank, as faithful to the work as any concert pianist. And every day she prayed that God would give her the gift of musicianship, that she might give the gift right back to him for his glory.

In time her father, seeing how hard his daughter had worked, figured out a way to buy a used piano on installments, and little Evelyn filled that dusty farmhouse with the hymns of the faith. She was never a great musician, but she was faithful to her promise. She gave her gift back to God, serving for many years as a church pianist.