My paternal grandmother is probably the most influential Kentucky woman in my life. For that matter, she's on the short list of the most influential people in my life. She likes to have things her way, but then again, so do I. She's very emphatic in her opinions on food, basketball, politics and religion; Lord knows I am, too. I once described the two of us as a "hillbilly version of Lady Mary and the Dowager Countess." There's an image I can't take back, but it's not exactly wrong.
My granny is one of the strongest people I know. She taught first grade for 43 years. Literally, half our county owes their literacy to her. She's outlived her husband, her parents, and all five of her siblings. She's 87 years old, and while she doesn't move quite as fast as she used to, she still keeps her kids and grandkids in line with the precision of a drill sergeant.
I've written about my granny many times. I've written about her belief that "everybody who's anybody owns a set of Blue Willow dishes." I've written about her unshakeable belief in family. But, most of all, I've written about her quilts. They aren't a hobby or a home accessory. They're works of art.
As we celebrate Women's History Month here on HerKentucky, I first thought that I'd give y'all a break from more essays about my grandmother. I just couldn't do it, though. The older I get, the more I realize that she has left perhaps the most indelible impression on my life. She truly is amazing, if at times infuriating and headstrong. (I, of course, have never once been called those things. Ever...)
As I get older, I find so many ways that my grandmother has influenced me. Nobody else in the world can make cornbread properly. Only her recipe, which involves instructions like "the amount of baking soda that fits on the first knuckle of your first three fingers", is worth eating. I sure do love blue-and-white dishes. And, while I've said time and again that I'm finally going to finish a quilt, this time I mean it. I have a family legacy to uphold.