My Grandma’s Wok

When I was 17, my sweet Grandma discovered the wok. It revolutionized her kitchen. I guess you’d have to know where we came from for that to seem unusual. She was born and raised in the South. She was country folk.

She grew up on biscuits and collards, muscadines and peach cobbler. The wok was an entirely new species of kitchenware. Its outcome a whole ’nother country, literally.

But then, her retirement years were pretty daring, I must admit. Taken as a whole, I have to say she was living it up, whenever she could.

She was very involved in her church, particularly the Solos. It was the special Sunday school class for singles. These days, that demographic would be far different than it was then. But then, the group was mostly made up of widows with a few widowers sprinkled in.

The Solos class revolutionized her life too, much to my chagrin. I admit, I was a little jealous. Grandma had a pretty full social life for a small town girl. She still crocheted. She still read her romances (this is a story for later). And she still fed me well. But…

When Friday night rolled around, and many times in between, she was out. This of course, was when she was in town. She went to The Grand Ole Opry, Myrtle Beach, shopping in Atlanta, and on and on. All with the ladies.

“The Ladies” was how she referred to the women that became her inner circle of friends in those years.

On those nights when she was just out for the evening, dinner could be found on the stove. several hours old. And Grandma long gone. Yes, I know. Today with our worries over freshness and bacteria, this would have ratcheted a surefire visit from the local health department. Back then, no big deal.

I never thought about it then, when I was feeling deserted, but now, I realize she made those dinners just for me. Obviously, she was eating out. An entire meal made for me. That, I think, was pretty thoughtful.

The wok made it easier. All in one pan. Easy cleanup. And really, I have to admit, it was some darn good fried rice. With shrimp, even. How’s that for sanitary. I would just love to come home one more time to that wok.

More than that, early enough to catch her still getting ready to go out. Or maybe, if I were being greedy, spend another quiet evening with her watching a Brave’s game.

There are some people that pass out of our life who just leave a hole forever. Grandma was one such person.

I admire her even more now as I grow older. She was an example of life in the golden years. An example of still knowing how to have fun, living to the fullest, and not being afraid to indulge a little.

She taught me that life has seasons, yes, but each are golden. It’s what you make of them. She made her last one pretty fun. I’m not jealous anymore. I understand completely.

The night she passed on, the remaining ladies came to visit her. They sat with us for a while and told wonderful, hilarious stories about their times together. Stories that showed the side of her that was full of life and vigor. It was a celebratory moment, a blessed rest from the sadness. Seems she was quite admired by the men, she just never cared about it. Seems she was also a whole lotta fun to hang out with. The ladies gave me something precious that night. It was a side of her I didn’t know. Thanks to them, now I do.

Every woman should have some ladies.

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