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Sudie Crouch: Times like this show us what we’re made of
Sudie Crouch

The world has been so tense and stressful lately. 

2020 has not gone the way anyone expected and most of us, myself included, had so many hopes and dreams for this year that have been put on hold, some indefinitely.

When we first heard news of the pandemic back in the spring, I think a lot of people were expecting everything to be all said and done within a couple of weeks and when it wasn’t, that didn’t set well. 

If anything, when things didn’t go quite back to normal, it seemed to make tempers flare worse. 

Something that had the potential to unite us seemed to be the source of more separation.

Everything has seemingly been magnified, including, or perhaps especially, the divide between us. 

A lot of these problems we’re facing aren’t new. 

They’ve been around for a while. We only thought they went away.

I’ve tried to find my own way to rise above all this hate and pain. 

I’ve tried — but find myself getting mired down in my own emotions and overthinking things as usual — and that usually results in non-action. 

Part of me keeps wanting to believe that we will get through all these crises and will be stronger because of it, but on the other hand, I question if that’s even possible. 

I know as a country we’ve been through other upheavals. Maybe not all at once like this time, but we’ve survived our fair share.

Granny lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and Vietnam, just to name a few in her almost a century of life. I remember interviewing her for a history paper in college and for once, heard her oft repeated stories with a new ear. 

“How did you do it?” I asked her. “How did you live through all of that?” 

She shrugged, her hands steadily working on her sewing. “What do you mean how did I do it? I didn’t have no choice.”

“But it must have been hard,” I empathized. “You lived through so many things and Pop and Bobby served in both of those wars. I can’t imagine how that felt.”

And for once, the old gal didn’t say something spiteful or pithy. “I hope you never have to know either,” she said sincerely. “But I know this, when you go through those things, you find out how cussed strong you are. You dig in, and learn you’re made of pretty tough stuff. Tougher than you ever knew.

“I had to take the bus to Plattsburg, New York, after your granddaddy and I married because he was stationed up there. I had never been away from home and here I was, on a bus by myself going all the way to New York. But I knew on the other end of that trip was my husband and that was my life.” 

She paused, catching her thoughts. “And we had a good life — through all of it. Times — situations, events, circumstances — times can and will always change. You can’t let them change you though. The world is always gonna go mad. But you don’t have to be part of the problem.” 

At the time, I was just an idealistic college student and the worst thing I had experienced was not having MTV. 

Granny had lived through all of those events, and during some of them, she moved hundreds of miles away from home, had to walk to draw water from a well, she knew about having to really make ends meet because she only made $3 a week, and didn’t have the internet to shop from or have Amazon to deliver. 

Her times were far tougher than what we’ve gone through, but she was tougher. 

“Out of all of those periods, which one was the hardest?” I asked. 

Her fingers pulled the needle through the fabric she was sewing making a straight line as she thought for a moment. “This one,” she answered. 

“How so?” 

It was the 1990’s and I thought life was grand and only getting better by the day. 

“Because now, your granddaddy’s got Alzheimer’s. I don’t have him to get through the rest of life with.” 

My grandfather was in long-term care then in Augusta. She drove there three times a week to see him. Even if he was having a bad day and raging, once he was told his Helen was there and had him barbecue and ice cream, a calmness would wash over him. She lived for those visits and as tiring as those trips were, they kept her going. 

“How did you get through all of those other times, Granny? Was it because of PawPaw?”

She drew in a deep breath. “It was us against the world. But know this, Lil ‘Un, it’s not just who you have by your side. It’s what you’re made of that will help you get through this life. Those things may not ever happen again. But they very well might; people ain’t too bright and tend to repeat mistakes until it kicks some sense in ‘em. But no matter what goes on with your MTV generation, don’t forget what you’re made of. That’s how you’ll get through.” 

Just like Granny was able to get through all those dramatic events that happened her life, we will too. We’ve just got to remember what we’re made of.

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 download on Amazon.