Today was unusually busy at work, so I didn't look at Facebook until I was leaving around 6 p.m. I saw this from Miss Bunny:
Martha Sapp asked me to spread the word that Carolyn May's funeral is tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 at the Presbyterian Church. Love to all of her family. Carolyn was a shining example of a Christian, and the world is a better place because she lived. Yes, the angels are rejoicing. :-)
My news feed was full of posted tributes to the woman we called MaMay, as if she were our own grandmother. I started to cry, and as I walked into the subway and waited for the E train, I pondered why I was so upset. MaMay had been in poor health for years. It was inevitable that this day would come. And yet...it feels like the end of an era.
One of the best things about growing up in Quincy was knowing my friends' grandparents. Slowly, we've watched them slip away. My grandmothers both outlived their husbands and left this world years ago. Ranie lost Miss Mildred last year. Carolyn's other grandparents are already gone. Somehow this passing hit me hard: we kids are now the parents. The parents are the grandparents. The grandparents are the great-grandparents...and now they're gone.
Of course, MaMay wasn't just my friend Carolyn's grandmother (and Ashley and Richard's grandmother and Elizabeth, Hunter, Andrew, Marcelle and John Bradford's). Growing up at RFM, Wednesdays meant Bible. Bible meant MaMay. And MaMay meant cookies.
We live in a world in which there is so little pure goodness. And yet, with her Bible, her sparkling cross, and her inspirational tales from Readers Digest and Guideposts, MaMay felt like pure goodness to so many of us. She had endless patience. She showed endless kindness. She was true faith.
I think another reason MaMay's death made me so sad is because I've been sad about the church this week. Homosexuality continues to be such a thorny topic. We certainly never discussed that with MaMay in Bible, and I wouldn't be surprised if her views on the topic are similar to the rest of her generation. But thinking about what I remembered from her lessons, I just came back to simple truths: love one another. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
When I got home, I realized I had a few key ingredients on hand: eggs, sugar, pecans and vanilla. I called Leigh Ann and got her to read me the recipe for MaMay's Kisses in the RFM cookbook. Some might call them meringues, but we called them Kisses...and we could never get enough of them. (Yes, the Natchez and icebox varieties are tasty too, but the Kisses were always the most coveted ones.)
Slowly, I beat the eggs with a pinch of salt...added the sugar...folded in the vanilla and the nuts...and baked them on brown paper in a warm oven. I thought with gratitude about MaMay's gentle spirit. And I gave thanks for the gospel she preached: pure love...with lots of Kisses.