Life With Ferris: Lessons From Lucy

Monday, August 8, 2022 - by Ferris Robinson
Front row, from left, Beth Stout, Lucy Bell Graze, Sally Ferguson, Sue Webb, Mary Jane Kelly and Nancy Robinson. Back row, from left, Ferris Robinson, Jan Robinson and Martha Robinson.
Front row, from left, Beth Stout, Lucy Bell Graze, Sally Ferguson, Sue Webb, Mary Jane Kelly and Nancy Robinson. Back row, from left, Ferris Robinson, Jan Robinson and Martha Robinson.

You may know Lucy Bell Graze. Chances are you’ve seen her running a party with Vivian and Reggie, running a family (Robinsons, Stouts, Fergusons, Webbs, Voges, McGinnesses) or just running full steam ahead in general. She does not believe in slowing down.

She planned to retire last April. “I’m not working after I turn 90,” she told me a couple of years ago. I told her she’d just get bored and she laughed.

The work she has done for most of her life is not easy work. For decades, she manhandled every home, every unruly child, every crowd-sized catering clean-up like a one-woman swat team. Nobody is about to cross her - no teens, no toddlers, no grown-ups.

One day I came home and she was still there, about two hours longer than she should have been. It turns out she was terribly sick but determined to finish her work.

“Bell!” I said in a firm voice. “You need to go home and get in bed! Now!”

So sick she could barely stand, she bowed her back, glared at me, and said, “That bed is not for me.”

“That bed is not for me.” Those six words could be her motto, and it has served her well. Lucy Bell has not had an easy time of it. Unspeakable heartbreak and loss and pain have visited her repeatedly. More than once, the option to curl up in the bed, to never leave the bed, both literally and figuratively, probably ran through her mind. But I’m guessing she immediately shooed any thoughts of that nature off and on their way, probably stomping her foot to empathize, even though she was so broken she could barely put one foot in front of the other. Didn’t matter.

A few months before she reached nonagenarian status, she got sick. After a long stay in the hospital, she went home with hospice care. Her entire legs were so swollen they barely resembled legs. That was over seven months ago.

She looks wonderful now. Her legs are still a little weak, but her face is glowing and her heart seems strong and, as she points out, her ankles are slender. Like movie star shapely.

“I told them [her doctors] that I was not going to stay in the bed,” she told us at her 90th birthday party, where she reprimanded her guests for sneaking a bite of food before the blessing was said. Her doctors are all a bit befuddled, but Lucy Bell is not.

“Not my time yet,” she said with confidence. “When the Lord knows it’s time, He will bring me home.”

And in the meantime, as she blessed the food, everyone at that time was acutely aware of how they’d been blessed by Lucy Bell Graze.

* * *

Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series. “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.


Ferris Robinson
Ferris Robinson

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