Fannie Mae Goodman once owned her own tap dance school with her cousins Judy and Naomi. At first it was called the Goodman School of Dance until they changed it to FanJuNo. Years later, she taught my sister, cousin, and I basic tap steps, which shows how much patience she had for it because I was never any good. Because of Grannie, I have seen and loved almost every Shirley Temple movie.
She had a big heart and told some of the best stories. One of my favorites, oddly enough, was one I always seemed to forget. She reminded me of it every time I offered her a root beer:
When she was a girl, her mother use to send her down to the drugstore for her “spring tonic.” There was a soda fountain there and the soda jerk would prepare her a root beer with castor oil mixed in well so she couldn’t taste it. One year, there was a new soda jerk, and he failed to stir the castor oil…at all. Grannie stuck her straw to the bottom of the glass, where all the oil was, and got a big mouthful of it. She never wanted another root beer for the rest of her life.
Grannie passed away this past Saturday. She was going to celebrate her 90th birthday on November 29th of this year. We had planned a big shindig to surprise her. I was going to host Thanksgiving for the family the day before and every once in a while I’d get anxious about it because I’d be participating in NaNoWriMo too. But I’d remind myself, it was for Grannie and the stress would be totally worth it.
I would seriously rather feel the stress of those two days, than the sadness that aches me now.
Grannie was one of those wonderfully tenacious women who never failed to make you love her. Because she always loved performing in a show, I could compare her to classic beloved actresses like Maggie Smith or Julie Andrews. But Grannie was better because I was fortunate enough to know her personally. To me, she outshone any Hollywood star.
I could be completely selfish and upset that she died (well, I am anyway). But I know she was ready even if the rest of us were not. I think she seemed almost immortal because she was always ready to joke and laugh with us. But I also know she felt her age. She had tap danced all her life, up until about 7 years ago, when her balance failed her and she fell too many times. As she got older, she complained more and more about “Old Arthur” especially when she was crocheting (a hobby she passed down to me). It actually took me a while to figure out that Old Arthur was arthritis. She had such a young spirit, Old Arthur was just something that got in her way, but never really stopped her.
But God decided it was time for her to stop. It comforts me to know that she was content with His decision. It also reminds me that we can plan and plan as much as we want, but we must remember that in all things it is His Will that is done (Luke 12:13-21).