My grandmother, Lee Bates was a very strong willed woman who was beautiful inside and out. She stood about five foot four with a medium build and had long beautiful hair that she always had dyed blue. Other times she wore a brown wig that had curls all over it until she was able to get an appointment at the hair salon.Whenever she smiled at you it was like you could see the genuine, warmth of how sweet and gentle she really was. She was born in Aaron, Mississippi and a had a country accent to prove it. A the age of eighteen she moved to Louisiana and some years later she met and eventually met her husband, Jim Bates and together they had eight children. Before my mother was born my grandparents bout a huge piece of land and my grandfather worked himself into the ground trying to get the loan paid off. In the process he died from pneumonia when mama was just three years old and Aunt Anne was a small baby. There were only three payments left on the land when he passed away.
I often asked myself how did my grandmother finished raising her children and still can't come up with an answer right to this day! She never married again nor had another man in her life and always kept her wedding ring on her finger but switched it to the ring finger on her right hand. When I was older I noticed this and asked her "grandmother, why do you have your wedding ring on the wrong hand? Why would you do that?" She says to me "I have it on the hand it's suppose to be on. When my husband died I put it on this hand and this means that I'm a widow. Whoever see this will know."
Even though I never had the chance to meet Jim Bates I knew that my grandmother loved him. Her love story was rare and most definitely one of a kind. He was a true gentleman and loved her so. On sundays he took care of all eight kids and told her this was her day and she was to have it to herself. My grandmother would get dressed in her heels and one of her church dresses and whenever she walked through the house and wanted to sit down, he would walk behind her staighten the back of her dress right before she had a seat so that her clothes would not become wrinkled. For her there was no death do us part but there was until we meet again. She sometimes gets out of bed in the morning and tells mama "your daddy came to see me last night." Curiously, I ask her "grandmother how do you know it's him?" She smiles at me and says "he promised to come check on me after he died and I know it's him because when he comes and sits on the end of my bed I can still see his smile and he still wears that same hat he wore when he was alive." I was only thirteen when she told me this and it made me wonder how powerful love can truly be.
Love can come in many forms and in this case it was the love of a husband and wife that were inseperable, even after death. When a husband and wife love each other as my grandparents did, it can be impossible to break. Especially when the two become linked together as one like an unbreakable chain that holds a forcefield. He lived for her, she lived for him and when he left this earth he still lived on through her because that is how powerful their love truly was. Even as a young child I longed to be blessed and have this thing called love one day.
There is also motherly love and i'm sure this was passed down from grandmother to mama which she now gives to my brother and I. Growing up with her as our mother, I knew we were the center of her world. She never turned on us but would surely let us know when we were wrong. Sometimes, if necessary there would be physical punishment but nothing harsh. Even though there were times that we had to be brought back to reality and realize who the mother was, we knew she loved us dearly and gave being a mother her all. Her love was of the purest and true.
There is also sisterly love or a "Sisterhood." I never saw my aunts or mama hang out in big social crowds but always with eachother. The bond she had with her sisters was as strong as any mighty beast that walked this green earth and sisters like that are hard to come by theses days. I can't recall them bickering or arguing with one another. They would never let anyone on the outside come in and tear what they had apart.They were a pack of wolves, some real beasts. A group of strong black intellegent women all thanks the the alpha, my grandmother.