Thursday, March 16, 2006

Malmuth Lanford. My mom (Juanita) had what we can only describe as a "spell" yesterday and made her way to the nurses' station at Epworth. They were alarmed, called 911, and she's in the hospital. I saw her in the ER last night and she was better, but they admitted her. I spoke to her this morning and she had already seen Dr. Steve Fields, the son of the doctor who took care of me as I was growing up and for whom I baby-sitted (baby-sat?) a couple of times. (Steve's parents remain friends of ours and are clients. Steve takes care of Nancy Jones' mother too. Nancy is my paralegal. Who said you can't have deep and complex relationships in South Florida?) Mom said that Steve doesn't believe its her heart, but she will stay at least one more night and see a cardiologist today. We can't figure out what happens to her. Something definitely does happen to her, however. About six months ago we were checking this out with assorted specialists, and Mother, while being examined by one of these high-powered people, had a "spell". He was impressed but had no idea. I think its some sort of mini-stroke, but what do I know. The physicians have no idea at this point and are not treating what they don't know, which is honest at least. Anyway, I hope to bail her out tomorrow.

All of that is by way of introduction, because while speaking to her on the phone this morning she talked about her great-grandfather, Malmuth Lanford, whom she dearly loved. We got into "Greatgrandpa Lanford" (herein "GGPL") because we were talking about how old she and I are, which amazes the two of us. She is 85 and I am 60 this year. She brought up GGPL because "he lived until he was 90", describing it in a manner that implied living this long was an achievement as I think it was.

GGPL was a farmer who lived outside of Stone Mountain Georgia, and Juanita spent a few weeks each summer on the farm when she was a little girl. His family farmed there during the Civil War, but Juanita is careful to say that "they had no slaves". GGPL was a little boy when Sherman's army came through, Sherman having beat Atlanta to a pulp and heading for "the Sea". There was a great crop of corn standing in the fields, and the Yankees burned it. It created an indelible family memory, and I never hear about GGPL without being told that story. It made living through the winter without starving a matter of some doubt, but obviously GGP got through it.

GGPL was a Christian, and Juanita went to Corinth Church in Stone Mountain with him and her great-grandmother when she visited. It was a "Missionary Baptist" church, a precursor, I think, to the Southern Baptists. They were "Missionary" so as to distinguish themselves from "Hardshell" or "Primitive" Baptists who did not believe in missions and felt that salvation or not was predestined, so why bother. Juanita said that when GGPL prayed, he got down on his knees.

I told Juanita that despite her admiration for GGPL living to 90, I am holding out for 100 for her.

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