February 11, 2022
In December we celebrated the life of my mother-in-law, Gloria Huguley. She passed away Dec. 11 at the age of 85. Though we were sad, mostly we rejoiced, one, because she's in Heaven and two because Alzheimer's can no longer steal from her or us. She was a farmer's wife, mother and grandmother of 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, whom she loved fiercely.
She also was an avid gardener. For years, every spring, she'd plant a large garden on one of their farms. My farmer remembers the tension between her and his father, as both were confident where and how far apart each vegetable should be planted.
Gloria canned everything she grew. Everything. From the blackeyed peas to the squash and the okra to the tomatoes and green beans, all of it was sealed in jars.
Celebrating Mamaw- pictured with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (Photos by Shelley E. Huguley)
After I married, I came to love and crave her homemade hot sauce and chow-chow, a relish you spread over blackeyed peas. Why would anyone eat blackeyes without it? My favorite was her summer fry with fried squash, zucchini and okra. And when I say fried, I mean fried in Crisco fried! Nothing like it.
Gloria and the kids hand-picked everything she grew. Can't say those moments are their favorite childhood memories, but they loved the end result. My farmer would eat a jar of hot sauce with chips every day after school before heading to the farm.
Gloria loved her grandchildren and food was her love language. She had a candy drawer that was filled with endless sweets and sours and gum. Her "icebox," always had ice cream in the freezer, including boxes of ice cream sandwiches that she would allow my son to eat for breakfast. Unlimited sandwiches. Maybe that's why he's almost 6-foot 4 inches tall. My farmer would often say, "That is not the same woman who raised me."
Gloria enjoyed giving and attending garage and estate sales. She had an eye for antiques and a good deal, even if she already had 10 of whatever she just bought. There was never a shortage of Corning wear or casserole dishes. She enjoyed the hunt but what she really liked with visiting with the people.
For years, she made the daily drive to the post office to gather her magazine subscriptions and whatever else came that day. She'd load up her dog Trixie, who would ride on the console, drive around town a bit and then stop at the post office. Those daily excursions may have been the hardest to give up when she could no longer drive.
After my father-in-law passed, she never stopped looking over her shoulder "of an evening," still expecting him to walk through the door. We will miss Gloria but we're at rest knowing, she's no longer looking over her shoulder but sitting side by side with her husband and daughter and likely running God's garden. Welcome home, Gloria. Welcome home.
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