|Margaret Jane Shutt Keiber Stephenson was born in northwestern Ohio, around Wapakoneta, on December 22, 1908. She was my maternal grandmother and one of the most spiritual women I have ever known. To many people she was known as Margaret, but to me and my large group of cousins, she was simply known as Granny.
Granny was small in stature but big in heart. For years, when her kids (seven girls and four boys) would come to visit they would always be surprised by how little she had. Questions of "Mom, what happened to your coat?" and "Why don't you have any groceries?" were common.
She would just smile in her own way and with a soft voice reply, "Well, I think the good Lord told me that somebody else needed it more than Tommy and me. My uncle, Tommy, was physically challenged and lived with my grandmother until she was well up into her eighties.
Even though Granny was a highly spiritual woman, she had a wicked sense of humor. In her case, the more gross and disgusting a situation, the harder she laughed. If you could ever imagine a 4'10" white-haired bespectacled lady laughing so hard at the sight of someone slipping on a cow patty or throwing up after they had eaten a mountain oyster before discovering what it was until she nearly wet her pants? Well,--that would be my grandmother.
Come evening time, after dinner and after Tommy had been to the bathroom (another story at another time) Granny would settle in the living room under the family portraits of her children and grandchildren which covered an entire wall. She would settle into a small, comfortable brown-cushioned easy chair and prop her feet up on a padded stool made from old juice cans that she herself had made. The conversation would flow around her but before too long her head would begin to bob up and down as she struggled to stay awake. We would tell stories of days gone by and what had happened earlier in the day, usually with a laugh or two thrown in.
One evening, after mom and dad had moved to Georgia and I was still living in Ohio, we had been at Granny's house visiting for the day. Everyone had settled into their respective chairs in the living room, a wrestling tape was in the VCR (Granny and Tom both loved wrestling)and Granny was snoozing in her chair. "Hey, mom, did Diddy tell you about the world's longest fart?" my mom asked...