The other grandkids called her Granny, but when I tried to say it, it came out Mammy, so that’s what I called her.
I loved going to the grocery store with my grandmother because I could get most anything I wanted. But I always got the same thing when I went to spend the weekend with her.
A pint-sized carton of chocolate milk to stick in the freezer until it was frozen solid and I had to dig it out with a spoon.
Strawberry pop tarts hot out of the oven with melted butter in front of Saturday morning cartoons.
Banquet TV dinners with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn while we watched Sanford and Son, followed by Chico and the Man.
Shake ‘n’ Bake pork chops with macaroni and cheese. Not just any macaroni and cheese – the Kraft Deluxe box – and even that wasn’t good enough on its own. My grandmother believed that a stick of butter and a can of Pet milk made everything better and she was right.
When I wasn’t much taller than the aluminum table in her kitchen, I loved to swipe the corner off of the stick of butter setting out on the table and eat it. Once she caught me.
“Now you can do that at Mammy’s house, but don’t do that anywhere else.”
It was at that same table that I got my first taste of whiskey.
I’d been rummaging around in the kitchen cabinets and found a bottle of Hiram Walker’s. When I asked her about it, she told me to get it out and bring it over to the table.
I was only eight, but I knew what it was. That was what all those cowboys on Gunsmoke were drinking when they went into the Longbranch. And I wanted to see what it tasted like.
So my grandmother took on the role of Miss Kitty, and I, of course, chose to be Festus. She poured us each a swallow and then sat back in her chair to watch me down mine. I sputtered and shook my head while it burned all the way down, and then asked her why anybody would want to drink that.
She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to.
Today she would’ve been 105. Can’t wait to sit with her at that table again.