No longer with us, Nannie went on to her reward six years ago after starting her life in a hollow she described as “out back of West Columbia.” She grew up during the Great Depression and in 1936 she graduated from Wahama High School wearing a dress made from a feedsack. All of these circumstances from her early life instilled in her a practicality which served her well. There’s nothing practical about discrimination. If discrimination were practical, I wouldn’t have the right to vote as a woman and African-Americans would still be sitting at the back of the bus.
My Nannie had a common sense approach to practicality. For example, when somebody died, she didn’t send flowers which were already dying by the time they reached their destination — she sent ham. A good Tavern ham would feed a lot of people and it was something people could use. Last week, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown gave a speech on the senate floor about the need for legislation to outlaw discrimination of students in public schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity. If you think those students don’t need this protection, think about what civil protections you don’t need that simply protect your right to be you. Think about what is practical and what is of use to people in this life — ham and deferring judgment being two examples.
In his speech, Brown also made reference to the suicides of gay teens which have been publicized in the media as of late; teens who were allegedly bullied for being gay. Had my Nannie known any of the families of these teens, I have no doubt they would’ve received a Tavern ham just like anyone else — death and grief being the great equalizer for gay and straight alike. In short, Nannie would’ve sent something a family can use in a time when they have everything but what they need, namely, their loved one.
For those keeping score, the lesbian minister left the church but the Coca-Cola machine stayed.