Margie Grimes was born in Lawrence County on January 23, 1934, right in the middle of the Great Depression. She was the second of eight siblings, and her daddy was a farmer. They grew peanuts, cotton, hogs, cows, and had a huge garden. Of course all the kids worked the farm, and up until Margie was 12, they used horses and mules for plowing. “When I was 12, my daddy got his first tractor. It was a John Deere,” she told me. I asked her, “Did you ever go for rides on the back of it?” I have to admit, I was remembering my first tractor ride on the back of my granddaddy’s tractor, and at the age of three, I wasn’t yet expected to work in the fields. She looked at me and said, evenly, “No, we didn’t play on the tractor. It was just for work.” She chopped cotton, and when she was big enough, she was expected to do a full day’s work in the fields.
At the age of 18, she married James Grimes, and they had two children. One was named Stacy, and he lived for only 4 days. She has a daughter, Judy, who has a daughter, Holly Miller, and a whole passel of grands and great-grands. James had a number of businesses, including a wrecker service, and Miss Margie says with pride and devotion, “I was right there beside him.” James is still alive and will be 90 on April 8th. She really misses him, after having shared the same bed for 64 years. She told me, “I’ve slept in the same bed with him all these years, sleeping alone about tore me up.” They have a plan to one day be in the same long-term facility, and finish out there days there together.
Miss Margie has nothing but praise for the treatment she has received since she has been at Athens Health and Rehabilitation. Because she never had much chance to play, she has enjoyed learning how to play cards and other games such as Bingo. “The food has been good; they just make their ‘taters different than I do,” she said. She has also been very grateful for the care she has been given.
Miss Margie is something of a philosopher and told me, while I was singing some of her favorite songs to her, “God loves us all, red, yellow, black and white.” I asked her what she felt was the secret to a long and successful life, and she said, “You’ve got to give, and you’ve got to take. You can’t just give, and you can’t just take.”
She absolutely loves gospel music, and “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Beulah Land” are on her “Top 10.” Miss Margie has spent most of her life fellowshipping in various Baptist churches, and she and James are long-time members of Valley Grove Baptist church in Danville.
We went on to her favorites:
Favorite color? “Black, because it makes me look slim.”
Favorite food? “Lots of ‘em. I like pinto beans, corn bread, fried potatoes done the ‘old timey’ way. I like the peelings of sweet potatoes, as long as they were washed well.”
Favorite scripture? “Psalms 23, and all I have done since I have been here has been to pray, pray, pray.”
Favorite book? “The Bible.”
Favorite President? “JFK.”
Biggest change in her lifetime? “Losing my mama and daddy. I just can’t get over it because they were there when no one else was.”
I asked her, “What words of wisdom would you have to give to young people?” and Miss Margie answers, “Teach ‘em to work and take care of themselves.” Good advice from a woman who loves God, loves her man, and loves her family.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner