The Amazing Odie Housewright – Happy 95th Birthday!

Me, Odie, and Juliet

Odie Housewright is my grandmother. She is 95 years old today! Happy Birthday Little Odie, Juliet and I are sick we cannot be there to celebrate with you.

She is without question one of the most amazing people I have had the privilege to know in my lifetime.

Odie sings and plays guitar

Odie retired from Freestone County at age 89

When I was a child I would stay with Odie almost every day in the summers. We played dominoes and rummy. Odie taught me math and gamesmanship.

Odie is one of the best cooks you will ever meet. Even my discerning Italian friends over the years have loved Odie’s food and always want to see her when they come to Texas.

Odie picked cotton as a child and has always worked in some capacity. Even now she cooks regularly for my father and stepmother.

Odie can do a crossword puzzle faster than I ever will.

Odie can laugh and cry at the same time because her joy is overwhelming and just as infectious.

Odie is also stern in her will and uncompromising in her faith.

Odie makes quilts that should hang in The Smithsonian.

Odie and I once canned a tomato juice product we affectionately called V-3. It may have only been 3 ingredients but it truly embarrassed V-8 in quality.

Odie makes Caramel Pie, Buttermilk Pie, Rhubarb Pie, Chocolate Pie, Chocolate Fried Pie, Coconut Cake, Fantasy Fudge, Blackberry Cobbler, and a Jell-O dessert I would choose 9 times out of 10 over anything at any restaurant I frequent.

Odie loves with 100% of herself and she could care less about what others think of her. The funny thing is: others love her because she is so real and without social hangups.

Odie takes NO medicine of any kind except for 1/2 an aspirin every once in awhile.

Odie is the Matriarch and the soul of the Housewright family. We are the luckiest family we know to have Odie in our lives; healthy and still Odie.

Odie makes meatloaf, hamburger steaks, okra and tomatoes, turnips, pork steak, ham, turkey, dressing, gravy, turnip greens, spinach, fried chicken, cottage cheese salad, plum jam, biscuits, green beans and new potatoes, and black-eyed peas with cornbread

Odie has taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, worked for the senior center, worked for a rich woman, sang at reunions, given speeches, and prayed every night

Odie will beat you in 42, Chicken Foot, Dominoes, Canasta, or any other game she fancies

Odie always answers her phone and always has encouragement and kindness for me. Odie has never wavered in her belief in me.

When I grow up I want to be just like Odie.




  1. says

    Lovely tribute, Michael.

    Before I had even begun reading your moving article, I saw the picture and thought, "I love her." I don't know why, but I did. After reading, I love her even more. Pack that darling peanut of woman into your suitcase and bring her with you when you come visit us.

    • says

      Odie would love to meet you, but you would have to visit her. She now only really leaves town to see her sister (who is 90+ as well). One of the highlights of any visit to Texas is dinner or lunch with Odie. We know how lucky we are to continue to be blessed by her presence and how grateful we all are (including her) for her amazing health. Thank you for the kind note. I thought I would break up my usual routine today to celebrate a special woman in International Woman's Day :-)

      • says

        Does this comment make it official? :)

        Well, your work stands alone; some of the most beautiful photography and writing I've seen in the blogosphere. I'm thrilled that I'm able to support you your endeavors. You just so happen to be MY top commentator. I should bake you something, shouldn't I?

  2. Tammy Oineon says

    Thanks so much for posting this. Mildred Frye was my grandmother, and I have fond memories of Odie coming to visit when I was a child. I can still see her smile and hear her voice, even though I haven't seen her in many years. She is truly a wonderful woman and amazing spirit. I'm so glad you still have her – what a blessing!

    • says

      Thank you for your comment! I am sure Odie will remember you and it is so nice of you to say this. I remember many stories from Odie about visiting Garland and seeing Mildred. It is so nice we all have these fond memories.

  3. Cathy Idleman says

    I think we are so lucky to form relationships with our grandparents. We can learn so much about family history and heritage. My grandfather-in-law wrote a book about his childhood. I could not put it down and read it cover to cover twice. So interesting! Unfortunately I can not recall ever really having a conversation with any of my other grandparents. I was young when they died. Anyhow, I especially love the pictures she has hanging on the wall. You look just like your grandfather! Even the way you are holding your head is the same for the shot. Maybe you can post a blog about the guy in the third pic from the left. Cool :)

    • says

      That is "Blue Boy" and there is most certainly a story there. My grandmother's little cottage is all about photos :-) Did your husband's grandfather publish the book?
      I have many stories about my grandparents (all 4 of them) and without them I would not be the person I have become.

      • Cathy Idleman says

        He did get the book published! I will try to get the info about it to you. I don't know how you can get a copy, but I could mail it to you. I just moved and everything is in storage. However, I would love to share that with you.

    • says

      Cathy, I suppose I do have some things that favor the great AR Housewright. I am built and look much more like my mom's father whom I will most certainly introduce at some point. AR was the most Christian man I ever knew in the sense that he was most like Christ.

  4. says

    I love Odie! What a great tribute and wonderful post.She looks really young and vibrant. What a blessing to be her age and have that quality of life. My grandmother lived to be 99, but the last 10 years were not good ones.
    Tell Odie I think she is fabulous. You are so lucky to have her in your life Mike.
    I play rummy too. If you have an inkling, perhaps we can play a bit, eh?

    • says

      I will relay the message Mike. My guess is that she may see these comments.
      I am sure you would trounce me in Rummy, it has been awhile since I picked up the stack :-)
      Thanks for your kind comments, she is a really incredible woman

  5. says

    Pity the family who has no Odie! She is beautiful and talented lady with the attitude toward life to prove it. Lord, how I would like to eat dinner at her house. I can see her in you. You are a fortunate man, Michael. I like the way you structured your tribute. Almost bulleted…just the way I sense Odie would have said it.

    She has a Blueboy print just like the one that hung in my husband's bedroom. I still have it hanging in our bedroom. It was one of the few things we brought back with us when we disposed of his mother/grandmother's house. There are several versions of that old print that were sold at department stores. Hers is just like mine. I loved Odie on sight. But you made her real. She would like that.

    • says

      Blueboy is the mascot and reminds me of many of the objects I see in your blog. I have never asked where she got it, but it has sure been part of the family for as long as I can remember. Bullet points are the beginnings of many things where I could elaborate for hours. I just saw the picture this morning while I had no idea what I wanted to discuss today. Once I saw the photo, the choice was so clear and the words so easy it was as if I was simply marking memories in my head. Thanks so much for your kind reply.

  6. says

    A GOOD WOMAN – Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens… Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up, and call her blessed….Favour is decitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the frit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10-31
    Your grandmother fits this passage perfectly. She is an example for all of us. Love you Odie.


  7. Christina says

    Beautiful words…I love everything about your grandmother and indeed are very lucky to have her in your lives. I miss my grandmother every day and wish my son could have known her. I talk about her to him alot, that's for sure. She also had a BlueBoy in the house for as many years as I can remember and I spotted him right away. Thank you for sharing your Odie with us.

  8. says

    Really beautiful tribute, your grandmother looks and sounds like someone that I could easily sit and talk to over a cup of tea and some home cooking. My memories of my grandmothers and the different ways in which they were special are with me every day. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  9. Anonymous says

    I love this post! Mildred Frye was my grandmother also. I too, have fond memories of Aunt Odie's visits. Her smile and laugh were always contagious. Please give our love to her.

  10. says

    I want to be like Odie too! I'd love to sit at her table and dine on her food and hear her stories. A beautiful day that would be. Thanks for sharing Michael. This post just made my day :)

  11. says

    Wonderful post Michael! Grandmas are the best! I spent every day with my Grandma too when I was growing up in San Antonio, Tx.. Now with my little grandchildren, I hope I can be like my Grandma, Mercedes, and a woman like Odie who are women of substance!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.