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Sudie Crouch: I come from a long line of terrifying, awesome women
Jude Beck, Unsplash

I was completely unaware that National Women’s Month was a thing until a few weeks ago. 

I also forget when Krispy Kreme is giving away a free doughnut, so it wasn’t an oversight made in haste or spite. 

Sudie Crouch
But rather, I’d like to think that we celebrate the strong women in our lives every day, and not just wait until someone announces a certain month. 

Who gets to declare that anyway? I really want to know. 

Some of the women that have been celebrated have broken barriers, made history, and done things no one else could dream of achieving. 

They are groundbreakers and earthshakers, those women. 

It should be noted that in addition to accomplishing those feats, they probably had to juggle duties as a mother and wife; some of them may have even been single parents and had to play both roles. 

Even though the women in my family haven’t made history they still have done something quite noteworthy: they have all been quite terrifying in their own way. 

Namely because in a time period where women were not supposed to speak up or out, or disagree with anyone, my family line was deep with outspoken women, not afraid to speak their mind, or to back it up with action when needed. 

Starting with my great-grandmother, a petite woman with a long, grey braid of hair that was probably as long as she was tall, the woman that birthed my Granny could be a force to be reckoned with. 

While I never witnessed any of her brazen and bold acts, Granny told me some stories when I was little that were surprising — how could someone as tiny as my great-grandmother have done those things? 

Then again, she had raised Granny. Granny’s terrifying acts were almost legendary. 

She was not one to back down from a confrontation and at times, was known to instigate it if needed. 

The old gal stood up for herself even when it was probably a time that it was not common. 

When her forelady tried saying Granny wasn’t making production, Granny called her out on her lies and what she had done — trying to make Granny do twice as much to pick up someone else’s slack. 

As her voice raised, the boss stepped out of his office to see what was happening. 

“Helen!” her boss exclaimed. “You’re a lady and shouldn’t talk like that. I could fire you.”

Granny did not take kindly to anyone telling her what she should and shouldn’t be doing, least of all because of the fact she was a woman. 

“Oh, yeah? She said I am not doing my job and I’m doing mine and someone else’s. I saw her move their coats on my table and when I said something to her, she said I wasn’t making production. I ain’t never not made production and you know it. So fire me. Who’s gonna make your coats then? Who do you want to deal with — me, or her?”

Either her boss knew she was right or he was smart enough not to argue with her.  But telling him to fire her was a bold bluff, but one she knew he wouldn’t do. She was in the right, and everyone knew it. 

A few years later, I overheard a conversation she had with a stranger that was on my uncle’s property through my bedroom window. My uncle’s land was right beside Granny’s and Bobby had sold some of his timber that summer. Granny saw an unfamiliar truck pull up at the property and a man get out and went to investigate. 

“What are you doing?” she demanded. 

“I’m looking for arrowheads. One of the loggers said there may be some here.”

“How nice they gave you permission to trespass on land that ain’t theirs. This is my son’s property and he hasn’t told anyone they can come looking for arrowheads.”

“Well, I’m a coach at the high school,” the man began, as if that was his ticket to trespass. 

“And I’m the queen of Sheba. You’ve got to the count of three to get back in your truck or I am gonna get you off this property.” 

I heard her count, the man stammering his excuses. Then, I heard her cock her gun. It was a sound we all knew too well from her.

I heard the man yelp, followed by his truck spinning its wheels as he drove off in a hurry. 

Personally, if I had seen some nearly 6-foot tall redhead with a shotgun in the woods, my first instinct would have been to run, but I guess he really did want to find some arrowheads. 

Even though Mama was the polar opposite of the Redhead Prime when it came to weapons, and for the most part, is quite genteel, she’s not a precious, little delicate flower either. At least not when it comes to her ‘Kitten.’

Normally, Mama would have a logical, thoughtful approach to problems, and would always try to give the other person some grace and empathy. The times she didn’t, it was because I had been wronged or slighted in some way. 

Then, my sweet little mama could transform into a scary she-devil, like a red haired version of Xena, the Warrior Princess screaming as she headed into battle.

The scariest words I could utter as a teen were, “Don’t make me call my mama” because most people didn’t want to deal with Mama. The normally quiet woman who hated social gatherings could suddenly be a fierce mama-bear telling you what you were going to do.

She used her fierceness for good, too, making phone calls and writing letters when necessary to demand rights about things for others from union leaders at work. 

Somehow, I thought I had missed that ability to terrify and frighten when standing up for my convictions until I had my child. 

Then one day, I overheard my son talking to a friend. “Ugh,” my son said. “What did your mom do?”

Based on my son’s response, the other kid’s mom must not have taken action. 

“My mom would have had a fit. Like apocalyptic-type portions if someone did that to me. Oh, yeah, she was nice when she met you, but trust me. She can be scary.”

I was surprised, but then I nodded knowingly. I’ve got a line of terrifying women to uphold.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle.