Grannie’s Thumb and Little Finger
Grannie Lindsay had two young men she was especially proud of – her “preacher boys”. Her first preacher was also her firstborn grandchild, James W. Lindsay, ‘Jimmy’ to the family and Brother Jim to his many friends. He was almost 10 years old when Mother announced that she’d be having a baby within the year. Jimmy was well settled into his God-given role as not only the first but the favorite of the whole family of aunts, uncles, cousins and various other relatives. Grandpa was making good headway in developing him into a major-league baseball player. And Jimmy honestly declared that he didn’t care if Martha did have a girl, he would not be impressed and probably wouldn’t even bother to go see “it”.
When the hottest day of the summer of 1939 arrived, so did I. My gender did not please my Mother nor my Grandpa. They both wanted the next baby in the tribe to be a girl. So much so that Grandpa had offered a $100 reward to the first girl to be born into the Lindsay family. I think that Mother eventually forgave me for costing her the reward but she reminded me of it as long as I can remember! And though I turned out to be a disappointment to Mother and Grandpa, I also revived hopes in the rest of Grandpa’s children. His 3 childless siblings announced their pregnancies within a matter of weeks. (Remember this was the tail end of the Depression and $100 sounded like a fortune to poor folks!)
When they told Jimmy that his new little “it”, was a boy, he was more than just a little disappointed. In fact, he refused to even come see that new runt who he feared would usurp his birthright of most-favored status. When they made him come, he still gave Grannie such grief that she got a good hold on him and pulled him up into her lap. That’s about as indignant treatment as you could give a 10 year old Babe Ruth in the making.
Then she held up her right hand and said “You know I have five children.” And she counted them off, naming each finger, beginning with Clarence, Jimmy’s daddy. She grasped her thumb in her left hand and said “Now, you see this thumb? This is Clarence. He’s my first child. I loved him first because he was the first born. But I don’t love any one of my fingers more than the other. I need every one of them. And I don’t love any one of my children more than I love another!”
Well, that satisfied Jimmy for the time being. And in fact, it still does. He reminds me, almost 76 years later that he is Grannie’s THUMB. I just had to settle for being a little finger!
And being a little finger to a woman like our Grannie Lindsay is a great enough standing to suit me. And to be on the same hand with a Thumb who is a great preacher, a man of God like Rev. Jim Lindsay is an honor that I’ll go to my grave trying to live up to!