The Original Queen of Nice: Happy 25th Birthday to My Grandmother

Gussie Opal

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

Today is a very special day.  I always look forward to February 29, because it was my grandmother’s birthday.  If she were still alive, she would be 25 today.  Or 100.  Depending on how you look at it.  She always joked with us about only being a teenager.  When I was 13, she had her 18th birthday.  Which cracked her up a little bit.

Her name was Opal, which is a really pretty name if you ask me.  She was the kindest person I’ve ever known in my whole life.  When I was a kid, there was always a cousin at her house.  If someone needed help, some food or clothes or a place to stay, she was going to help them.

She had bags and bags of fabric in the back room of her house and she would often make things for us.  I didn’t always appreciate a lot of it the way I should have.  But I still have 3 things she made me that I treasure.  One is a hand stitched quilt made out of remnants from her bags of fabric.  It’s wild and crazy and mismatched and beautiful.  In college, it even made it into a painting.  The second thing I have is an afghan blanket that she knitted.  It’s all my favorite colors and I still snuggle with it.  And the last thing I have is the note that she put with the afghan when she gave it to me.  It says, “Every stitch means I love you.”

And she made the world’s best pecan pie.

So today I celebrate the birthday of the kindest person I’ve ever known.



Amanda Summerlin

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