Happy Eightieth Birthday Grandma!!

Tomorrow my Grandma Kidd will turn eighty-years old. Born in a holler in eastern Kentucky she was the second daughter of Henry Stratton and Mae (King) Stratton. Although another man had expressed his interest in my grandma, the moment she saw my Grandpa Kidd in his Army uniform, she turned to her grandma and said, "That is the man I am going to marry."
A short time later, Jett Lee Kidd was introduced to Reba Alberta Stratton by his parents who knew my grandma quite well. Following a short courtship the two were married. Eight children and sixty-years later my grandmother is still one of the kindest, genuine, hard-working women I know. Her feet have slowed but she loves adventure, taking motorcycle rides with younger men from church and traveling by plane to Florida with my Dad to visit her long-lost cousin. The photo above was taken by my dad during that trip. I think it's one of his fondest memories of her. In re-telling the story he always says, "they were just like two young girls, telling stories and laughing." Although I don't know much about this relative, it's obvious from the photo that my grandmother was close to her because they are holding hands. In case you haven't guessed my grandma is the one with the big straw hat. Isn't she cute?
My grandma has the equivalent of an eighth-grade education, which was five years more than my grandpa had. It's funny to watch her read the paper. When she comes to a word she doesn't know or is unsure of she will spell it out and try to pronounce it.
Raised in the mountains of eastern Kentucky she is also very superstitious and conservative. When my brother and I would visit my grandma she would make us drink Sprite mixed with Karo syrup when we had tummy aches. Thinking about that now makes my stomach hurt and I can't believe my father allowed us to drink that stuff. Aghh! I have to admit, it worked.
To treat nosebleeds, which I had often until I was twelve, she would place scissors in the freezer until they were extremely cold. Then she would place the cold scissors on my bare back. The cold metal made the bleeding stop immediately. I will do the same with my children one day, provided I have any.
My grandmother and her daughters, my aunts, are very conservative in their conversations. There are certain topics you don't discuss openly or in mixed company. For instance, I discuss my period with my dad and brother all the time. However, this would mortify my grandma who refers to it as "wasting" instead of bleeding or menstruating. She is also convinced that menstruating women who venture outside during a rainstorm will shortly take sick and die, because it happened to one of her cousins.
She believes in spirits and other such things and has several spooky ghost stories she loves to tell, when asked.
She is a terrific cook and makes the best homemade applebutter ever. Every fall she picks apples from apple trees my grandpa planted and with my Aunt Lois makes up a big "mess" which she jars for the family.
Although she doesn't spend money on herself, she loves getting clothes and jewelry from her children. My grandpa never bought her anything really nice mainly because they were too poor to afford anything extravagant but we all knew he loved her. In the only video taken of them together my grandparents are sitting on the couch. My grandma has a straw hat on and my grandpa in front of everyone turned to my grandma and said "Sock it to me." In response she totally laid one on him. That was the only time I ever saw them do anything remotely spontaneous or romantic. I will treasure that memory forever and hope one day my elderly husband turns to me after forty years of matrimony and says the same.
For the past two years my grandma has been honored by her congregation for being the eldest member. Everyone refers to her as "Ma Kidd." Her humility and warmth attract so many people. I have not met one person who has uttered an unkind remark about her. She is an angel and I wish I were more like her. She is the embodiment of charity, for she has never sought her own but has only sought the comfort and well-being of her family. All of her children have clean vocabularies, meaning they rarely swear and never in front of my grandma, they don't drink, and they are all extremely hard workers. Even my mother who has little respect for anyone loves and admires my grandma. She has lived to see her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren rise up and call her blessed. I hope one day I can do the same.
I love you Grandma Kidd! Happy eightieth birthday!

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