My Giggy was nearly magical. She was quick and funny and had a knack for writing songs on the spot. She could hear you saying you were gonna “lay down” for a nap from across the house and she’d appear in the doorway to remind you “Lie for recline, lay for place.”
She would give us Bible verse pop quizzes and pay is in change for right answers. She loved Shakespeare almost as much as St. Paul. She remembered songs she hadn’t heard in twenty years.
She could cook and sew, not wonderfully but adequately. But for breakfast in the mornings she’d make us warm toast drenched in butter, topped with either honey or cinnamon-sugar. She made the cornbread that I compare all other cornbread to.
She had the best stories and she knew just when to tell them. She had a Southern storytelling style she learned from her daddy and his high school mischief tales are still being told by me today.
She would make whirlpools in the backyard swimming pool and she could lift and throw us children in the water even as we grew older and heavier. She was a voracious reader and she taught me how to recite poetry with pathos.
She was all these things while being a cult leader and a killer and a terribly neglectful mother.
I think the world wants easy villains because sharp, funny little old ladies from the South who make cornbread don’t fit expectations. We’re taught to hate violent abusers and love women like my grandma and the fact that she was both gets lost.
She was a thousand virtuous and villainous traits constrained in one body. Just like I am.