Grandmother Wilson’s Prayer

📅 March 16, 2020

Everyone has eight great-grandparents. I met only one of mine: Ollie Rigdon Wilson, my maternal father’s mother.

I have her wedding photo—a beautiful, demure woman with a petite figure. She gave birth to six children: Wilbur, Ralph (my grandfather), Charles (“Buster”), Minnie, Vera, and Johnny. She named my grandfather ‘Ralph Waldo,’ by the way, so she must have loved literature.

My mother told me several stories about Grandma Ollie. She was a “yard person,” and treated her plants tenderly, standing over them with a watering can in that dry West Texas heat. And after her husband died, she had a friend/handyman named Bert, who drove her where she needed to go. Apparently, Ollie was a chronic backseat driver.  

The other story I know about Ollie is that she was deathly afraid of tornados. Once when my mother, as a girl of 12, was visiting for the day, Ollie didn’t like the look of the dark, boiling clouds, and urged “Gin” (her family called her) to “get into the cellar.” Ollie opened the door and practically pitched my mother in. But when she spied the two beady eyes of a snake staring at her out of the darkness, she pitched Gin right back out.

I have several photos of my great grandmother, one with me when I was two; another when we visited her in her nursing home near the end of her life.

But my prized possession of Ollie’s is a prayer in her own handwriting.   

Dear God, I remember the lone nights when I was alone with my babes. I prayed that you would be ever near me to sustain and comfort me. I prayed that I would not be afraid, and that my children would sleep well, trusting in my care.

In their childhood days I prayed for strength to supply their daily needs, wisdom to guide them in right decisions, words to tell them of Your love, and for myself I prayed that my faith and belief in you would never waver, even when the going got rough.

But they need me little now as they go their separate ways. But still in the night, and through each waking hour, I pray that you will help them to overcome temptations. Bless them and guide them, God. Let them feel your presence and know the power of prayer. Show them how to impart Your great truths to their little ones, who depend on them as they once depended on me.

I am lonely again, and the nights are long. Sometimes I am still afraid. Touch my hand and revive my strength, O God, who answers all prayers. Teach me how to live with the present, how to find other interests and perform other duties. Make my last days more fruitful. Forgive me, God, if I am selfish in asking that they remember their old mother—if only when they talk with Thee. Amen.

I like to think she sometimes prayed for me.


  1. Wanda

    How lovely. Humble.

  2. Anita

    How sweet. I remember my grandmother reading the Bible to me and praying with us when I was a child. It’s sweet memories.


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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association