Granny Tennis Shoes… Sword Tongue… Praying Hands… What’s Your Legacy?

High top all star converse tennis shoes Praying Hands Legacy

Everyone knew her. That woman, older than dirt, bent like the crook of a cane to half her height. Back then, in the 60s, an old lady in trousers is today’s equivalent to a tube top and Daisy Dukes. Thus, all elderly women wore floral jersey dresses. But this lady, had it going on, donning the expected uniform dress, and thick, sagging, support stockings with her signature Converse All Stars high top tennis shoes. Praying Hands Legacy

The fashion statement earned the nickname, Granny Tennis Shoes, and a story, told as a warning, locally and beyond. The tale not only explains the physical ailment but also solves the fashion mystery.

It went something like this…Praying Hands Legacy

            One day a poor penniless widow found a pair of Converse All Stars in a dumpster. While lacing them up, the plan emerged, catapulting the old woman from rocking chair to entrepreneur, soon branded as Granny Tennis Shoes. During peak traffic times, taking a two-point stance at the street corner, she’d wait for the light to flash green, pouncing onto the crosswalk, (hence the tennis shoes) in front of a car, (hence the crippled body). Afterward, Granny drug her tired, tread riddled bones to court, suing the traumatized driver, for all they had.

And the saddest part of the story?

We all believed it.

It was not until I told the story as an adult that I realized how unlikely it would be that she would survive more than one attempt. Poor old Granny Tennis Shoes, clueless as to why… fingers pointed… cars swerved at the sight of her… wide-eyed children gawked or ran away. Praying Hands Legacy

Have you ever wondered what stories are told about you? I cringe at the thought. Labeled a feisty redhead with a nasty temper, my brother nicknamed me Sword Tongue saying,“Watch out, if you make her mad, she’ll slice you to pieces!” Praying Hands Legacy

That’s not a good legacy. I pray today my words be sweet, that the blade of my tongue is guarded, never wagging amok, or used as a weapon. I confess and repent of times my nearest and dearest have witnessed my tongue unsheathed. It’s true, I ’m not the person I could be, but it’s also true, I’m not the person I once was. The one who took pride in verbal slaughters. Glory to God for the changes and praise for His continued work. Praying Hands Legacy

I remember the first time I knew there’d been a paradigm shift in the way people define me. It was my birthday, the one when my now 18-year-old grandson was just four years old. With no help or suggestions from others, he selected my present. By the look of anticipation on his beaming face, I knew whatever it was, he believed it to be a grand and perfect gift. I expected a mug, or socks, maybe even a “NaNa is the best” placard. I did not, nor could not, have imagined the treasure concealed inside the box, wrapped slipshod in the funny papers. After peeling the last layer of comic, I opened the lid, lifting the mysterious cube from the box. Dazed, I stared at the gift, mirroring what my grandson sees when he looks at me. A battery operated crystal cube that lights up, revealing a silhouette of praying hands. The loveliest gift ever. Praying Hands Legacy

A drop to my knees, state of mind, moment. Hyper aware of the miraculous transformation, present in me, a task only God could pull off. How flattering… what an honor… to know my grandson pictures me as a woman of prayer who loves God. I’ve never felt more gratitude for God pulling me up out of the muck and mire, hosing me off, presenting me as lovely, in my grandson’s eyes. Praying Hands Legacy

Had I kept going the way of my past, my grandchildren might see me as someone chasing the wind, or worse, they might not know me at all. Because of our powerful awesome God, my five grandsons know what’s important to me. God, their Grandpa, and family.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

That birthday was a defining moment for me. A day when I received a priceless jewel. Proof that God is working miracles every day, in every way, even if you are just a “me,” like me. Undeniable evidence that I am not the godless woman I once was. For me, the wondrous change is no less a marvel than if I’d sawn off my leg and God grew it back.

Grateful! Grateful! Grateful!

Thank You God that who I see reflected in the eyes of my loved ones, is good.

Hmm… maybe Granny Tennis Shoes’ grandchildren and those who actually knew her, saw her as a loving grandma, who happened to wear cool high top tennis shoes. I hope so.


See below to read a sample chapter of our book in progress.

New Christian Author Preview Chapter: In Spite of Us – Stalked by a Loving God

17 thoughts on “Granny Tennis Shoes… Sword Tongue… Praying Hands… What’s Your Legacy?”

  1. My grandparents were the biggest influence in my life, no doubt about it. And now, as a new grandpa, I am constantly aware of my influence and legacy on my granddaughter. Without the legacy of my own grandparents, I wonder if I would even understand the importance of the role. I can tell by this post that you have this impact on your five grandsons. It’s awesome!

  2. I only see you from a friend’s perspective and I can only hope to become the kind of friend you are. When we were just newly friends I fell from sobriety. I will never forget when I came home from treatment and was sitting in your living room talking w/ you & Sandy. You told me how you used to come down in the morning and as you had a drink of water, or were getting water for coffee maybe, you’d look out to the little house and smile thinking about our newly forged friendship. After I had started drinkin again you told me you’d look out the window and wonder if I was alive in there!!! You were the first person to make me realize that how I live really makes a difference to those in my life. It took a few more years to get headed in the right direction but I try to live by the lesson I learned there thru your words. I do my utmost each day not to negatively impact anyone. I don’t think that up until that point I really mattered to anyone….love you

  3. Beautiful post Deb. God is amazing and full of mercy. I can identify with you whole heatedly the changes Christ brings to the life of a believer. I too used to be full of inconsiderate and vulgar behavior unconcerned about the way it offends those around me. I loved the way you said this “I ’m not the person I could be, but it’s also true, I’m not the person I once was. The one who took pride in verbal slaughters. Glory to God for the changes and praise for His continued work. ” Spiritual growth is the key in living in His will. Thanks for your strength and walk. GBY

  4. How encouraging, Deb! We are all a work in progress. I tend to focus on the work to be done rather than to praise God for the work He has already done in me. I humbly recognize the transformation yet to come but I can relax in His grace and celebrate His new creation.

  5. Thanks Sherry. Sometimes I need to look back at the good work He has done in me, to keep faith that more transformation is coming. I’m delighted you stopped by.

  6. Love, love, love the story! I had the most amazing Grandma ever & without her encouraging words I hate to think where I may have wound up! I am the adult child of alcoholic parents & my “Gram” was my rock & my spiritual mentor; so full of wisdom & the advice, well it was priceless! It seems that you & I lived a mirror image of one another as I too, had the mouth of the logger my dad was. I scared all my siblings with threats of one kind or another. It wasn’t until my youngest daughter, Angel sent me a poem saying what a wonderful & wise mother I had always been to her that I realized just how much of my Grandmother I have in me; we were even born on the same day & I miss her everyday! Thanks again for a wonderful read!

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