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.

  • Jan McTier
    1:06 PM, 30 November 2010

    What a legacy of love this dear lady leaves with all who knew her. We all think we were her favorite. Nancy is sure that she was the favorite child, and Betsy believes that she was. But then they both admit that Dan probably was. I know each grand and great-grand child was her favorite.
    When in her company,I felt like her favorite friend-she wrote on my last birthday card that I was her favorite “unpredictable” friend. All of the students who had her for a third grade teacher, including me, felt like the teacher’s pet. We all wanted to be the picture that was found in her Bible, but those two Carpenter brothers who turned out to be school superintendents held that honor!

    How can one lady have so many favorites? She had a gift for making everyone feel special. She took the commandment to love Jesus first and others next very seriously.

    I will remember her every time I hear Russell’s truck in the driveway at the end of the day. I will run put my lipstick on in her honor.

  • Jonathan Rogers
    2:09 PM, 30 November 2010

    Jan, my poor kids were very confused after the funeral yesterday. “So which side of the family are Jan and Roslyn and Sylvia on?” they wanted to know. I reckon everybody’s on Granny Ross’s side of the family.

  • Aaron Roughton
    4:32 PM, 30 November 2010

    Sorry for your loss Jonathan. What a wonderful story about a wonderful lady.

  • Jonathan Rogers
    4:54 PM, 30 November 2010

    Thanks, Aaron. It was definitely a loss, but we’ve had a lot to celebrate. After 27 years as a widow, my grandmother is a bride again.

  • gina
    5:44 PM, 30 November 2010

    What a beautiful lady! Thanks for sharing that sweet story. It’s hard to lose a grandparent…but lovely to be with family and to share memories like these.

  • Jonathan Rogers
    6:01 PM, 30 November 2010

    When I saw that picture of my grandmother, I thought of something Abe Lincoln (supposedly) said. He had decided not to appoint somebody who seemed qualified for the position. “I don’t like his face,” he said.”Surely you can’t hold a man responsible for his face,”said his adviser.
    Lincoln answered, “After the age of forty, every man is responsible for his face.”
    It’s no accident that my grandmother had so lovely a face like that at age ninety (nor was it good skin care). She earned that face.

  • Heather Ivester
    7:44 PM, 30 November 2010

    We were sorry to hear about your loss. What a beautiful story about your grandmother learning to play the piano on a plank of wood. I’m going to tell my daughters about it the next time they complain about not wanting to practice.

  • Mary Latta
    3:32 PM, 7 December 2010

    Jonathan… I missed this post ..just got to read it. OK….there is a wonderful, poignant, children’s, picture book waiting to emerge in that precious story…get busy!

  • Jonathan Rogers
    3:37 PM, 7 December 2010

    You know, Mary Latta, you’re right. It hadn’t occurred to me. Maybe I will get busy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a Quote