grandma fell in begonias

Authors note: Mama passed away in December several years ago and thus, along with Christmas on my mind, so is Mama. She always thought this story was funny, so this is for her.

I know. This title sounds like the second verse of the song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” but that’s not what this is. Actually this is about my mom who, since the birth of her first grandchild in 1985 has been known as “Grandma” within our family.

Mama is in her seventh decade (didn’t get permission to print the exact number) and the old girl (got special permission on that phrase) still swims at the recreation department pool, works in the yard and cooks a mean Sunday lunch. I still have to get a special dispensation to snitch cookies off the stove, a lesson I learned the hard way a long time ago. So she can still get my attention with a look and continues to be the boss hoss of the plantation.

I pause momentarily to note that the Richardson clan has always been able to laugh at themselves. (It’s a good thing too because we always seem to be doing something ridiculous). It’s one of our most charming qualities although we have other traits that are not as endearing. With that in mind let me tell you about a hilarious incident.

Mama was out watering her beloved begonias a few weeks ago. She bent over to make sure the water was going exactly to the spot she wanted and just continued slowly toppling right on over, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa on a bad day. Ultimately Mama did a face plant right into the moist flower bed. Unhurt, but struggling to regain an upright position she was down for an eight count and needed a save. Fortunately one of her grandsons came along before Mama had been there too long and extricated her from the begonias. She had been rescued. It was about time that one of our family members was the hero because Mama has been the one performing heroics for most of the last half century.

Grandma’s got more saves than Billy Wagner (he was a major league pitcher known for finishing off games in case you aren’t a baseball fan) so it was time we started paying her back in a small measure. We’ll never catch up. To be honest, I have been the primary beneficiary of her attentions.

Among the ways she rescued me:

She liberated me from those hateful piano lessons when I climbed into bed with her one morning and begged to be relieved of that onerous task. When she consented to allow me to end my musical career, it gave me great joy and allowed me to continue my pursuit of becoming the next Derek Jeter (a famous baseball shortstop for the aforementioned few that don’t know.)

She saved me no small number of thrashings by withholding incriminating evidence from Daddy. I will say however that Daddy did the same thing thus sparing me from her wrath on several occasions.

She saved me from certain death when she adamantly refused to allow me to have a motorcycle even though all my friends had one.

The list goes on but a final note on her most impressive save.

Over twenty years ago in 1992 Mama saved my life. In the process, she rescued my children from having a disabled father and my wife from having half a husband. My mother, without blinking an eye, offered to be cut with a surgeon’s scalpel, not to enhance her own health but to actually reduce it so she could save me from the depths of kidney failure by donating one of her kidneys to me. For her, it meant an extended, tortuous stay in the hospital and a lengthy recovery with no guarantees of success in the end. She took all this into consideration, calmly chose to walk through this trial by fire, and saw it through to a successful conclusion.

Mom is my greatest hero. She brought me into this world and then rescued me from the brink of despair and disaster thirty seven years later. I surely haven’t said this enough down through the years but I’m shouting it out in public today. I love you mom and I’ll be glad to get you out of the begonias any old time.


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Alvin Richardson
After thirty-six years in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator, Alvin Richardson writes weekly outdoor articles and humor columns for the Morgan County Citizen, the Statesboro Herald, Greensboro Herald, and the Milledgeville Union-Recorder. A native of Rutledge, Georgia, he served as head football coach, athletic director and assistant principal for Morgan County High School. After retirement, he served as principal at the Morgan County Crossroads School for Alternative Education. Coach Richardson’s long history with football began at Cook High School under former Moultrie Coach Bud Willis and went on to work under the legendary coach Larry Campbell at Lincoln County High School. Richardson writes for Georgia Outdoor News magazine and the Georgia Gridiron Guide. He is author of It’s a Dawg’s Life, a sixty year historical account of the Morgan County football program, and Tracks of the Red Elephant, a 100 year history of the Gainesville High School football program. He has written four other books on high school football and is currently working on a book about Wildcat football.


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