Some Got the Shoe, All Got Love

Tomorrow it will be my honor to preside over the funeral of Alpha May McEnturff. She was my wife’s grandmother. The family just called her “MaMaw.”


When MaMaw passed away, the family found themselves together and the stories began. Most of the stories seemed to rise up from the grandchildren and the great grandchildren. Not one of them was left untouched by their experiences with MaMaw. She was selflessly available to all of them and, in fact, raised many of them. At a time in our culture when many grandparents find themselves being forced to raise their grandchildren for one reason or another, MaMaw invited it because she loved it; she loved them and never seemed to get enough of them.

If MaMaw had had millions of dollars she would have been called eccentric. But, as it was, she was a little mischievous, a lot of fun, strong, independent, religious (in a good way), and perhaps unpredictable. And, as it turns out, based on at least some of the stories, each grandchild and great grandchild got a different MaMaw. Some got a little more discipline (which was at times a soft house shoe) and others got softness. Some remember dolls and frilly clothes and others remember scary movies and bowling. Each got what they needed, and all got love.

After Pop

Almost five years ago, the love of MaMaw’s life—James “Pop” McEnturff—passed away. A lot of times when people have been

married as long as they were (around sixty-six years), the one left behind doesn’t hang around long. But MaMaw was just too strong to be done with life. An entire community of people a the nursing home in Waxahachie, Texas had not had the MaMaw experience yet. But they would—for about four years. I can tell you, when she passed, she left a MaMaw-shaped hole in that place.


When she passed, Trey, one of the grandchildren, had the pleasure of going through her belongings and getting all her things together. He discovered that MaMaw liked to hide things. He found something in every shoe! But one of the funniest and cutest discoveries was locked in her safe. He opened it and discovered five Little Debbie Christmas cakes (treasures to be sure) from some Christmas past. She was also known to hide bags of candy and then to pretend to have run out so someone would have to buy more.

Jesus and Janet

MaMaw believed in Jesus and prayed a lot. The McEnturff Clan is a strong, active bunch! And those prayers came in handy many times. The family centered itself around MaMaw and Pop, and as far I can tell, honored them in life and in every way possible at their passing.

MaMaw will be missed but many times this week I have heard the name Janet. Janet was MaMaw and Pop’s hydrocephalic daughter who died when she was just fourteen. She was always on MaMaw’s mind. But now, somehow, in the midst of their grieving, it brings the family comfort to know that MaMaw and Janet are finally together again.

Categories: Family

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