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
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.