• Natalie J

How this woman inspired me

My granny, Ruby Jean Ellis, was one of the most important and influential people in my life. We both loved singing in church. I loved hearing my granny sing. "Rock of Ages" was one of the songs she was known for singing and she was truly the "rock" not only in my life, but for our family.

My granny Ruby, was the person that encouraged me to sing. She not only had me singing in the church choir, but she also had me singing in a community choir called "The Agape Choir". I was the youngest lead singer. My granny taught me not to be ashamed of God at a young age. She taught me never to be afraid to sing in front of a crowd. She was always a fan of my voice, even when I was not.

I remember taking a break from singing when I first went to college and I remember her telling me, "Nat, if you don't use your gift, God is going to take it away". I wasn't obedient as quickly as I should have been, but once I transferred to MTSU, I returned to singing. I would let my granny hear some of the recordings from our choir rehearsals and you would have thought she was listening to the Mississippi Mass Choir. She thought our choir was amazing, she was so proud.

My granny was my biggest supporter, she never missed my high school basketball games (home or away), and when I went to play in college, she attended as many games as she could. She wasn't one to bite her tongue, so if I wasn't playing hard enough or made a mistake, she would yell from the crowd to let me know. As for my singing, she was always either in the choir with me or sitting in the congregation smiling while I was singing. She was also quick to tell me if she didn't like a song. She always kept it real.

When I first learned to cook, I was absolutely horrible! No one would eat my food and I could not blame them. My granny talked me through what I needed to do to improve and I did. Now, I am arguably the 2nd best cook to my sister Ebony(let me dust my shoulders off a bit). I continued calling my granny for recipes and cooking tips, up until she became to sick to talk on the phone. Her cooking was so good, so heartfelt, so original- I miss it. I regret that we didn't get all of her recipes and create a cookbook. It was that good!

Moment of Vulnurability

I was a bit of a hot head in high school, especially when it came to basketball. I was an awful loser. My granny had a way of calming me down and making things a little better. The same applied in my life, if I was upset about something or someone, she was always the one that forced me to look at things from a different perspective. She always threw God into it, which I thought was unfair at the time. She was the most forgiving and optimistic woman ever. She always told me that life was too short and she was right.

My granny was a God-fearing, bible abiding woman, but she also had a cool side to her. I remember leaving the house one morning with the intentions of skipping school. I had it all planned out. I pulled up to park my car right beside my boyfriends car and as I got out to hop in the car with him, my granny pulled up. I have never been so afraid in my entire life! I had never seen that look on her face. She rolled her window down and said "Get your butt back in the car RIGHT now". I quickly got back into my car and followed her back to the house. I did not know what she was going to do, I was sick to my stomach. I walked into the house and she began yelling at me. It was a mixer of anger and disappointment. I knew she would get over the anger, but I hated that I had disappointed her. She told me that she wasn't going to tell my momma and for me to take my little butt to school immediately. She earned some "cool points" that day because I was so afraid she was going to call my momma or tell my granddad, but she never did.

I love you and miss you daily, granny. Life has not been the same without you.

Happy Heavenly Birthday!