“She’s our rock,” Rose Griffis said of her ninety-seven year old mother, Lola Smith. “We’ve been saying that for years.”
Lola recently took being the “rock” of the family to a whole new level when she garnered more than 800 “likes” through a contest on the McRocks Facebook page enabling her to win a special, church McRock painted by Renee Daugherty.
The spry nonagenarian has taken a special interest in the recent McRock craze of decorating and painting ordinary rocks and then hiding them in various locations across the county for others to find.
“Yes, I like to paint rocks,” Lola remarked about her new pastime.
Lola’s daughters got their mother interested in painting rocks recently when they hosted a McRock party which included four generations of the family. The event was a fun affair with Lola and her daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters enjoying dinner before gathering on the front porch to paint 75-100 rocks.
Initially, Lola didn’t quite understand why the family had gathered to paint rocks. However, after hearing her daughters explain that the rocks were to be hidden for other people to find and enjoy, Lola declared the activity to be “a nice idea” and took her paintbrush in hand.
“The more she painted, the more she enjoyed it,” daughter Janie quipped.
In talking with Lola and some of her family, it is clear she truly is the rock of the family. With ten of eleven children still living, Lola is the matriarch. Her children eagerly shared memories from the past.
“I remember when daddy was alive. We would load up in the VW van and away we would go as the Smith Family Gospel Singers,” recalled daughter Rose. “We sang gospel music at lots of different places. Mom sang with that beautiful voice of hers.”
“I remember us growing up camping and fishing,” added daughter Janie. “Mom absolutely loves to fish!”
The children also enjoy sharing the story of how their parents, Elmer and Lola, became engaged.
“Every time we go through that curve near the Forest Service Helipad, Mom reminds us that is where dad (Elmer) proposed to her,” shared Rose. “Mom was young and staying with a sick aunt in Burnside. She got terribly homesick and somehow got in touch with dad and asked him to come and meet her. Dad walked all the way out from Honey Bee while snow was on the ground to meet Mom at the train station in Parkers Lake. As he was walking her home, Dad got down on his knee in the snow and popped the question! He told mom if he had walked that far to get her, he was going to ask her to marry him. Of course, Mom said ‘yes!’”
Lola is the center of loving attention from her family.
“She’s the greatest mother,” remarked daughter, Janie. “God has blessed us. Mom always sees the best. She’s always positive. Even if you are crying, she will see the best. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her mad or upset.”
“Our mom is a beautiful, devout lady,” Rose added. “She’s always laughing and has a smile on her face.”
Family events revolve around Lola. In addition to the McRock party, the girls recently had a “Pamper Party” just for Mom.
“It was the first time she had ever had her nails polished,” Rose smiled. “We gave her a pedicure, manicure, the works!”
For the fun-loving family, reunion time is fun time with mom. Each year, a theme for the annual family reunion is chosen. Past family reunions have been “themed” around Duck Dynasty, tie-dye, UK, and Hawaii. With Lola always being the guest of honor, the family does its best to make sure mom is happy at the family gathering.
“She’s always laughing and loves the reunions,” Rose said with a laugh. “We’re just a fun family!”
Lola is more than happy to share her secrets for living a vibrant life.
When asked how she has managed to maintain her youthful complexion, she is quick to respond.
“I never used soap on my face,” Lola shared. “Soap makes wrinkles. Warm water is the key.”
As for her long and healthy life, Lola simply credits her Maker.
“God is the reason I’ve lived so long,” she declared emphatically.
Without a doubt, Lola, with her faith and the love of her family, is blessed.