I’ve always felt blessed by the wonderful family God has given to me. The faithful example of those who were older, in whose footsteps I could try to walk. My grandmother, Flora Rampey, was no exception. I’m going to miss my grandmother. I was looking forward to a day a few months from now when I might have been able to introduce her to what would have been her 6th great grandchild. I do hate that my child will never have to chance to know Grandma – mostly because she was a wonderful lady who was a blessing to those who knew her. I’ve been thinking a lot these past few days about what I’m going to tell my child about my grandmother – because more than anything I want him or her to understand the legacy of faith that they have been given.
I want to tell about her hospitality. How she opened her home every year to dozens of Rampeys for a fun, food-filled Christmas celebration. More than once at family reunions I was amazed by how many people talked about living with her and Major - How it seems to me that at some point, many brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends ended up living with her and Granddad. I never heard her once complain about the cleaning up she had to do, the food she had to cook, or the stress of hosting the 50 or 60 people who came to her house every year for a meal. She just put her housecoat on over her dress, and starting washing the dishes.
I want to tell about her sense of humor. It took me a long time to realize how much she loved jokes, and how funny she could be. Even when her memory began to fail, she could still laugh. When we were going through some of her things a few years ago, in one of her chests she had kept this enormous pair of women’s underpants – pants that were so big that my granddad (big man that he was) could actually fit in them with someone else. Apparently, these were something she liked to keep and give to all the newlyweds in the family.
I want to tell about her deep love for her husband and the institution of marriage. I always loved the story of their elopement – Granddad sneaking out of the house on Christmas Eve to come and get her, interrupting the Methodist minister in the midst of his Christmas celebration with his own family, the hunt for them the next day when my Great grandma found out what happened. She managed to stay sane through 67 years of marriage to a stubborn Rampey. And those who knew her say her care for my granddad in good times and in bad times. She understand what it meant to be married in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health.
Then, of course, there is the food. I’m certain everyone has a favorite – pound cake, chocolate pound cake, german chocolate cake, peanut butter cookies, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cornmeal pancakes, chicken and dumplings, and her delicious biscuits. I do wish my child could one day eat her biscuits. I will say, though, that my dad learned from the best, and his are delicious, too.
Lastly, I want to tell about her faith. How week in and week out, Wednesdays, Sundays, camp meetings, special services, she went to church. She prayed. She read the Bible. And not only did she read it, she obeyed it. What I most want to tell my child is what I think she also would have most wanted them to know: It wasn’t her hospitality, her good deeds, her delicious cooking, or even her faithful church attendance that could save her. What saved her was her deep abiding faith in Jesus, who died for her sins, and whose righteousness she was given. Her life was a triumph – and her death is not a tragedy. Although we miss her, we have hope because, like it says in Ephesians:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.