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Life and Times

Benonia Jeff Maddox

Last week, Kari and I went to my grandma’s funeral. Benonia Jeff Maddox was 84.

Granddad died 5 years ago, and for all practical purposes Grandma died long ago as well. After he passed, her health faded, leading to a lengthy stay in a nursing home. The talkative and feisty woman we all knew was largely mute over the past few years. We would see glimpses of her former self poke through from time to time, but only a shell remained. In this case, death was easier to experience when done over time.

Benonia Oxford was born in 1926. Her parents both died when she was a kid and was then raised by her sister. Scandalously (at least by today’s standards), my granddad swooped in and married her at the age of 17. They were married for nearly 62 years, and her life was inextricably tied to his. There were things she never did. I don’t think she ever balanced a checkbook.

She was well known for her cooking–I personally remember a great pot roast and green beans that actually tasted good. I think the bacon she used had a lot to do with that. She loved to sing, and she loved Aggie football. Aggie indoctrination was common: 7 of her 10 grandkids graduated from A&M.

Funerals are always a strange thing–they make you reminisce about the good things. I had forgotten the singing. I had forgotten the food.

Her funeral marked the end of a generation, and now, as Kari & I anxiously await Abigail’s arrival, the grandparents are our parents. We’re now one generation farther down the road. To Abby, they will be Grandma and Granddad.

Life moves quickly, and if you’re not careful, the good will fade, only to remembered at the next funeral. May it not be.