One of my great-grandmothers is lovingly referred to as “Big Mama”. She left this earth 47 years ago and is still referred to frequently by her family. I was a baby when she passed and I talk about her like I spent time with her in her kitchen. The origin of that name I’m told came about when my Daddy was learning to talk. He and my Granny were living with Big Mama and Papa while my Grandaddy was away at The War. He had started referring to his Mama and his grandmother as “Mama”. Big Mama gently corrected him and created a new name for herself. I don’t think he was the first grandchild, but the name quickly stuck. Now nearly 50 years after her death, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and now great-great grandchildren refer to her simply as Big Mama.
Here’s the kicker, I’m told she stood at about 5 feet tall. Not exactly what you had imagined? The legacy this grand lady left reaches far beyond her time. She was a founding member of a church that stands today. Her legacy I believe is in the family that has come from her. She had 10 children. Some stayed local, while others put down roots in Georgia, Birmingham, Tennessee, and California. Those children gave her around 31 grandchildren, and about 50 great grandchildren. She now has family scattered to many of the 50 states. Those same family members have had the opportunities of education, careers, travel that I’m sure would have delighted her. Not too bad for someone who never learned to drive or even traveled very far from her small rural town.
I’m told that Big Mama delighted in spending time with her family and church family. A family of 10 required her to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen and her children and grandchildren speak fondly of being in the kitchen with her. She cooked three meals a day for a busy family farm. I’ve never heard anybody say that she complained about any part of her life. One of my cousins said she remembers Big Mama singing her favorite hymns while she went about her day. From everything that I know about her, it sounds like her faith and her family were her mainstays. A heart attack that took her from this earth and the family who loved her so dearly. Yes, Big Mama, you left us with alot to think about. For that we are all grateful.