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Bring Mammy Her Dress
By Donna Faye Jones Caudill
Christened Georgia Ethel McDaniel on May 12, 1905, she was the
third child of six born to Israel and Nellie McDaniel. She was strong
willed, creative, spirited, and not afraid to speak her mind. She was my
I enjoyed listening to her tell about her heritage, a glimpse into the
times past of this precious lady. They were pictures that lived in her
and in her memories. I heard about riding to church in a horse drawn
wagon, playing Drop the Handkerchief in the schoolyard, and learning
to sew on a treadle sewing machine. I held on to every word and tried
to imagine I was there with her. One warm afternoon in July of 1987 as
we sat together in her mobile home, she began to tell me about her
“The test results show she has cancer.” It was not the prognosis
our family wanted to hear. “She has a little while left. Enjoy her while
you can.” Words that brought a tear to our eyes and sadness to our
hearts. The little while turned out to be eighteen months. She closed
her eyes the last time January 1, 1988.
Grandma McDaniel had fallen ill to a heart disorder. Her doctor had
set a time limit. If she wasn’t better by the deadline, heart surgery
would have to be performed. For nine weeks there would only be one
time her feet would touch the floor. While her bed was being made she
was picked up and carried to the chair that sat beside the bed. Ethel,
and her sisters, Alma and Nettie, played games in the floor beside her
bed. They were ten, seven, and three. They took care of her while
Grandpa worked in the fields of their large farm.
Propped pillows was Grandma’s repeated request. Ethel made sure
the pillow cases were washed and ironed. To pass time, Grandma read
her Bible. As she searched scriptures she read the accounts of
healing. She realized she too could be healed if she believed. One
afternoon while the girls were playing by her bed, Grandma sat straight
up. The countenance of her face suddenly changed.
She sat up and exclaimed, “Nettie, bring Mammy her dress! She’s
healed.” Three year old Nettie ran, scooted the chair across the floor
and climbed up to reach the dress. Their dresses hung on nails on the
walls of their bedroom.
In the evening Grandpa had finished for the day and was returning
home for the evening. He could see in the back door. Lee, his brother
was walking beside him. They looked in the backdoor to see Grandma
standing at the stove cooking supper. Both were tired and weary, but
this sight gave them new found energy as they ran to witness a miracle.
The trip to the doctor’s office turned out to be a family outing. The
doctor was prepared to make arrangements for her heart surgery.
“How is Nellie?” Doc Bertram asked Isreal.
“She’s out in the waiting area. Would you like to talk to her?” replied
He followed Grandpa into the waiting area expecting to see an ill,
weak, and frail patient in need of heart surgery. What he found was a
smiling mother sitting with her children waiting for her husband to
make the journey back to their home in the country.
Fifty-three years later, at the age of eighty-six my Great-Grandma
McDaniel went to receive her just reward.
I miss my Grandma. Her legacy of faith, courage, wisdom, and a love
for our God we serve gently passed to me. It’s a heritage I treasure
and hold dear to my heart.
Donna Faye Jones Caudill of
Mansfield, Ohio, was a
resident of Vanceburg from
1952-1967. She is the
daughter of Charles and
Mildred McCane Jones and
granddaughter of W.C. and
Lula (Richey) Jones and
Phineas McCane and Ethel
Hampton. "Mamma's Teacup"
has been published several
times via ezines. Caudill is
currently working on a
collection of short stories for
a book titled "Tablet of My
Heart". Contact her via email