Mother Woody

By Brenda S. Brown


Her name was Lorene Johnson Woody, she was born at the turn of the century and lived in and around Webster County, Georgia, nearly seventy years; she was the mother of six surviving children, two stillborn babies and one who died during early infancy.   I knew her well because she was the maternal grandmother of my husband, Otto; and was affectionately called Mother Woody. 

She never pursued a profession outside the home, rarely left the house except to visit a neighbor, attend Sunday church services or an occasional funeral, and she baked fantastic tasting cathead biscuit.   She had no problem being known as a homemaker; in fact, she took pride in nurturing her family.  She did not curse, swear, or even speak unkindly about her neighbors; she enjoyed the pleasantries of life in the country, and minded her business. 

Their house in no way resembled a palace; however, visitors were treated like royalty.  The iced tea was as sweet as mounds of sugar could make it, and the perked coffee was strong enough to awake the departed.   Cool drinks of water from the well off the back-porch, or on occasion fresh sweet milk, were the only other liquid refreshments available.   

The massive wood stove was darkened from years of constant use and preparing meals fit for a king; one of our favorite offerings was collard greens seasoned with hog jowls and served with a slab of crackling cornbread.  Fresh vegetables were grown out back and chickens roamed freely around the yard; there was always good food warming on the back of the stove and everyone knew to help-themselves. 
Each bedroom contained several bedsteads because there always seemed to be an endless supply of children, grandchildren and relatives who needed to a place to stay and where better than with Mother and Poppa Woody.  She did not complain about company, no matter how long they stayed, and to our knowledge, never asked anyone to leave. 

Come sit a spell on the porch and rest your weary bones she invited, its comfortable here, and you are as welcome as a summer rain. 


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