Josie Virginia Potter is a sweet old southern lady with nine grandchildren and a deep pride for her birth place. Her name alone evokes an image of a proper matriarch with fine southern lineage, but everyone has their moments.
Giny Speaks was driving her grandmother’s brand new black Jeep Liberty on a summer day in 2006. It was an ordinary afternoon of bonding for the two generations. They had just finished shopping at a Wal-Mart in Spruce Pines, North Carolina and as they pulled out of the parking lot, another vehicle carelessly cut them off. In a calm, collected tone Josie asked Giny to follow the car. Her granddaughter did not even think for a second to disobey her. “You never disobey Mamaw,” she said with a very serious face, and I believed her.
The Jeep trailed this anonymous man for miles until he finally pulled into a sketchy apartment complex on the other side of town. Giny wasn’t sure what her grandmother was planning on doing and the man, suspicious of being followed, stopped his car in the center of the parking lot.
Josie’s cheeks reddened as she fumbled to open the passenger’s door. She was clearly angry. The man also stepped out of his car onto the hot pavement, and before he could ask questions, Josie shouted “What’s your name, boy?”
Completely caught of guard at this frail little old woman’s projecting voice, he answered timidly, “James.”
“Well, don’t you have a last name, you dumb f#!%?”
Giny, who was sitting quietly in the driver’s seat, perked up with shock and discomfort. She couldn’t believe her ears and soon, she could not believe her eyes as she watched her grandmother approach the man slowly, but very deliberately. Giny picked up her cell phone and quickly called her uncle, hoping he could provide some guidance.
“How dare you!” her grandmother continued walking, leaning hard against her cane. “What were you thinking? You could have caused a wreck or killed someone.”
Both Giny and the man were baffled that this eighty year old woman who was hurling violent curses. Suddenly and without warning, Josie began swinging her cane, dropping blows on James.
“Please don’t hit me. I was in a wreck recently.”
Josie stopped for a moment and stared at the young man who appeared to be in his early twenties and very terrified of the whole situation. She took a step forward and clutched her cane until her knuckles turned as white as porcelain.
“You were in a wreck? Well, maybe you should learn to drive. I was just in the hospital for six months. I lost a thumb!” Before swinging her cane again, she stuck her thumbless hand up into the sunlight.
James quickly apologized and Josie calmed down. It was all he needed to say to satisfy her. She placed both of her hands over the handle of her cane, nodded once, then walked back to her Jeep with her head held high. Giny did not say a single word the whole drive home.
Giny tells me this story like she has relayed it a hundred times. She finds it humorous, but does not laugh. She is too busy placing doughy biscuits on a cookie sheet. Once they are all neatly arranged, she pushed them into the oven and looks at me.
“Never underestimate the pride and strength of an old stubborn southern woman. Never.”
Thank you Josie, for sharing your Story with us.
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© 2009 by Rachel Hoffman and Story of My Life®