I've been a little weepy today. I've been seeing all the posts from family members about my Grandpa Rayburn's birthday today. He's been gone for several years now and I miss him so much. He and my grandma were two of my most favorite people in the world. My family tells me that I never really got to know the real "Rayburn Kelly". He had a stroke (and a heart attack?) when I was about 5 which left him paralyzed on his left side. But, I do remember that handsome man that knew no stranger. He was a friendly fella. He did eventually walk again with his cane. I can see him now adjusting his cane (he'd kinda tap on the floor to get it just right) and then drag his other leg over. It didn't stop him from driving either. He'd put his hat on and drive up town a couple of miles. And, if you ever drove by their house, he was probably sitting outside in the front yard in his green chair waving at everyone that passed by. If he wasn't outside, he was watching from his chair out the front door. =)
Grandma Bett was always cleaning. She would have breakfast on the table before anyone was even out of bed. She'd have the kitchen cleaned and lunch on the table just a couple of hours later. And, then be trying to feed you dinner before either of the other two meals had ever settled. I'm pretty sure you could have eaten directly off of her floors they were so clean. I'm not sure that she ever sat still for more than 5 minutes without jumping up to check on something or somebody. She always had gum in her purse (or kitchen cabinet) for you. And, she made the absolute best chocolate fudge I've ever eaten.
I loved spending the night at their house. Because of Grandpa's handicaps, they had two beds in the room - a twin for her and a full for him. But, when I stayed, I got to sleep in Grandma's bed. When we moved away and came back to visit, she always made the most comfortable "pallet" in the floor with tons and tons of blankets. (Audrey now sleeps every night with one of those very blankets on her bed. She asked for it when I told her the story behind it. It is very special to her.) Usually when I spent the night, we'd end up playing checkers and dominoes. I also spent a lot of time playing in their backyard where the giant pear tree was. And, at least one meal had to be a hamburger from the little store next door.
I was so sad that neither of them got to meet my girls. Grandma passed away about 6 weeks before Audrey was born. She lives on through them though. Audrey carries her name, Elizabeth, which is very special to both of us. One night when Audrey was maybe 4 years old, she was sobbing on the couch. I asked her what was wrong and she said she was very sad that she never got to meet her other grandmother. It was a very sweet time and I got to share stories about Grandma with her. I try to tell the girls about their family - either that have passed away or live far away - as often as I can. We can never forget where we came from! I was truly a blessed child - just as my girls are to have the grandparents they have.