HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS LULA!!

I just want to wish a very happy birthday to my grandmother, Lula Harwell (or, as she is known to many,"Lulu") This Glamour Gal turns 89 years old today and I feel very blessed to have had her in my life for so long. She has raised four children, has 7 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren and has been married for almost 67 years!! No small feat any way you cut it!!

I can remember coming over to her house when I was little - she was always very patient and would allow me to rummage through her jewelry box and try on her exotic long necklaces and clip earrings. I would play the organ at headache-inducing volume levels, complete with the bossa nova beat in the background and pull out the "Monkeys in a Barrel" game and scatter it all over the floor.

"Miss Lulu", as my grandpa calls her, should have worked for the fruit growers association. I can never remember a time when I saw her that she did not offer me a pear, grapefruit, apple, orange, tangerine, cherries, berries, banana, figs or kiwi. Heck, she even carries fruit when she travels!! A former English teacher, she is a voracious reader and a spelling editor for my grandfather and his newspaper columns and books. She is known for her love of roses and gardening, which I, and several members of the family, have inherited. She could spend hours at a plant nursery and has taught me the names of many different tree and plant species. Rarely could you leave her home without a hand-gathered bouquet from her garden (at times inhabited by a spider or some tiny insects, much to my chagrin). She is a gracious and hospitable woman who has always made everyone feel welcome in her home with her love of cooking, entertaining and laughter. She has had some bouts with cancer and ill health over the years, but manages to keep up with her daily walking and gardening still. As we like to say, "She takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'!" Happy Birthday, Grandma, and thank you for all you have invested in the lives of your family, friends and strangers - you are very loved!