Mamaw’s House

By Brea Cannon

Connecting Faith and Life

In an out-of-character moment, I played music while weeding our garden one morning. As the music played on a playlist, a song came on that brought back many memories and feelings from my childhood.

I grew up in a small community — church, school and family were the cornerstones of my family’s life. I loved our little country church and the parish family we had there and the friends and classmates I had at school. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are from my grandparents’ houses. I grew up within 10 minutes of both of my grandparent’s houses; we spent time at both houses regularly. We stopped in at my maternal grandparents’ house throughout the week for a visit, my brother would mow the lawn while my sister and I would snap green beans from the garden while talking with grandma or my grandma would make dinner on some of the busier days with school activities and sports. Our Sundays were spent around my paternal grandparents’ kitchen table. We would enjoy a meal together, find adventure with cousins in the woods or share life, faith and experiences sitting around the kitchen table for hours. My grandparents’ houses were and still are a highlight in my life.

As I weeded the garden on that beautiful summer morning, the song “Mamaw’s House” by artists Thomas Rhett and Morgan Wallen brought back the events and conversations I had as a child at my grandparents’ houses. The chorus of the song was pure nostalgia for me:

“If every nightstand had a Bible, every front porch had a swing,
If every backyard had a garden, every front door had a screen,
Well, maybe this crazy world would straighten up and slow on down,
If every town had a Mamaw's house.”

My grandparents’ houses are still 10 minutes from me today. My children and I stop in to help my maternal grandparents with their garden and sit around the table at my paternal grandma’s house. My grandparents and the world have changed but a couple of things have remained: Their houses are still filled with love, knowledge and wisdom.

In July, the Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim — the grandparents of Jesus. The role grandparents and the elderly have in families, society and the Church is irreplaceable. Pope Francis speaks often of the importance of caring and praying for our older generations. In his message for the 2023 World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis explained, “The Lord trusts that young people, through their relationships with the elderly, will realize that they are called to cultivate memory and recognize the beauty of being part of a much larger history. Friendship with an older person can help the young to see life not only in terms of the present and realize that not everything depends on them and their abilities. For the elderly, the presence of a young person in their lives can give them hope that their experience will not be lost and that their dreams can find fulfillment.”

I agree with the writers of the song “Mamaw’s House,” our world is a little crazy right now and we could all use a little slow down. Grandparents and the elderly can give us a glimpse into a life that was once filled with a little less noise and distractions. The world and the Church need faithful grandparents and older generations to continue to share and pass on the treasures of the faith and the lessons of the past. The younger generations must embrace the gift that is the elderly.

The lyrics, “No tellin’ where I’da been without Mamaw’s house,” call to mind the life lessons, wisdom and seeds of faith I received at my grandparents’ houses. No matter how crazy the world may seem, the faith, wisdom and shared experiences from grandparents and the elderly will help us navigate and walk this journey with our eyes fixed on the riches of heaven.

July 26 is the feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim — a day to celebrate and honor grandparents both living and deceased. In the year 2021, Pope Francis established an official day for grandparents and elderly — it is always on the fourth Sunday of July.