A Tribute to the Sower of Imagination, My Granny

A tribute to the woman who fed me the seeds of creativity and gave me the love for horror, sci-fi, and Jesus.
on Dec 17, 2020 · 21 comments

When I asked Steve Burnett if I could do a tribute to my Granny on Speculative Faith, he thought it was a wonderful idea. I thought it was, too. Until the actual writing of this post came to me.

How can mere words describe my old lady? She is a complex organism of light and dark; cookies and collard greens; bleach and mothballs; hair-braiding and gardening; old books and typewriters, joy and sorrow; comedy and tragedy; practicality and wild abandon.

She is Granny,  the sower of imagination. There is no memory, distant or recent, where she is not there.

She’s at a nursing home now. On Sunday, December 20th, the family will celebrate her 90th birthday.  Tuesday, during my usual Zoom call with her, I told her about this post. Today, I’ll  read this to her so she knows how I feel about her. 1

Granny said,

“I know that you love me because you’ve shown me. Love is not words, but actions.”

This is true. Yet, words are what she gave me. Granny taught us to read and write when we were young. It is with words that I will attempt to share her with you.

So, I’ll start with this: whenever I think of Granny, I think of monsters.

Lots of monsters. Black and white monsters, monsters in color, some with tentacles, others with glowing eyes. Giant monsters. Tiny monsters. Those bearing human skin, and others adorned in gray flesh. No matter what, it is Granny who gave me my love for monsters.

People who follow me on Facebook notice my sisters and I have an unhealthy obsession with the Alien and Predator movie franchises. Granny likes them, too. At the risk of sounding cliché, there’s always a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever we watch them.

When it comes to demonic or spirit movies, I’m less likely to watch them. I remember screaming behind the blanket watching Poltergeist and The Exorcist. Granny never blinked. I can’t remember her having a reaction to them. Then again, her real-life stories of things she’s seen would rip the skin off your body. Hollywood horror ain’t got nothing on Granny.

There are vague memories of my mom arguing with Granny. “Mama, stop watching them scary movies with the kids!”

Granny shrugged it off. She’s always been a law unto herself.

She also gave us our love for sci fi. Together, we watched Star Trek and follow the exploits of Captain Kirk and his crew. We devoured black and white sci-fi movies such as Them, The Mole People, The Monolith Monster, The Terror from Beyond Space, The Incredible Shrinking Man,  Crack in the World, Godzilla, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and many more.

Growing up, we always sat on Granny’s couch in her room. Underneath the cushions, she’d place the books she was currently reading there. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Sandford are some of the more vivid ones I remember.

The book  Granny and I really connected over a horror novel called Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon. She and I talked about it for a long time, reminiscing about certain scenes and the like.

Little wonder the first book I ever published was a horror/thriller novel. I won’t mention the name because I cringe. I’d like to think I’ve grown as a writer since then. Granny was the first to buy it. I offered to give her a copy, but she refused . She looked at me and said, “You get your money from these people. You worked hard for it.”

I think one of the reasons why Granny had no fear of the horror flicks of my childhood was because it wasn’t the monsters of the screen that frightened her. Nor was it the demons, ghosts, and goblins. Not the serial killers or the alien abductions.

I believe her real-life nightmare was the fear that she would be forgotten. When my sisters and I moved into our apartment, Granny thought we would leave her behind. That we would never come see her again or something insane like that.

Years later, as we look forward to celebrating her 90th birthday, being forgotten is the last thing that will ever happen for her.

But her one constant is this: even if her worst nightmare happened – that her grandchildren would forget her – she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus never will. When we were younger, I remember her singing an old hymn called “Never Alone”. The lyrics read:

No, never alone,
No, never alone;
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.

Perhaps it won’t come as a surprise that the same song is one of my favorites, too.

Granny and me in January before quarantine.

Along with her love for speculative fiction, she gave us a love for Jesus. Whenever she braided our hair, she’d have us recite scripture. The one we know by heart to this day is John 14. I can remember the hard plastic comb digging into my hair, Granny’s Vaseline laden finger soothing the sting as we recited, “Let not your heart be troubled…”

And if we got it wrong, whack with the comb on a tender scalp!

As I look over what I have written, these clumsy words really don’t capture all who Granny is. She had a hard life growing up, much of which shaped her personality.

Psalms 127:3-5 talks about the heritage of children. I joked with an author of friend of mine, “Granny gave us the legacy of horror. I feel as if I must pass that on to my children. I have to give them the nightmares I once had.”

She told me once she wanted to be a bookkeeper. Reading was her leisure, but numbers kept her active. That never happened for whatever reason. Yet, as I look back over my life, and what she has meant to me, had she been a bookkeeper, would she have been the sower of imagination? Would I be who I am now?

Who in your life, familial or not, has shaped you as a writer or reader? What memories of stories that connected you with others do you have?




  1. Too often, we wait until death to show our loved ones that we cared. I didn’t want to do that. There’s a song that says, “Give them their flowers while they’re living.” This is my flower to Granny.
Parker J. Cole is an author, speaker, and radio show host with a fanatical obsession with the Lord, Star Trek, K-dramas, anime, romance books, old movies, speculative fiction, and knitting. An off-and-on Mountain Dew and marshmallows addict, she writes to fill the void the sugar left behind. To follow her on social media, visit her website at ParkerJCole.com.
  1. Travis Perry says:

    Aw! Your granny sounds great. Nice article!

  2. Moses says:

    Love reading your works

  3. An absolutely gorgeous tribute, chock full of what we need most right about now–God’s amazing love splattered on everything and everyone we touch. Keep soaring with your own brand of stories for God’s glory and make your Granny proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. ebroshan says:

    Lovely…makes me miss my Grandmother.

  5. Thank you. I’m going to enjoy her while I can!

  6. Beautiful tribute to Mama, Parker. God bless you for that. I still wish she hadn’t made you and your sisters love horror movies. Yuck. We are survivors because she is a survivor. Love you mom.

  7. jdavidmartin68 says:

    Excellent. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Karen S says:

    Loved reading your wonderful tribute to a woman of great imagination and courage. She’s quite a character. And she gave the term bookkeeper an entirely different spin!

  9. amandapizzolatto says:

    This was so beautiful!! Happy early birthday to your Grandma!! And many thanks for introducing you to reading and writing, without which we wouldn’t have your beautiful style!!

  10. Your Grandma sounds really cool 🙂 Interesting to hear a bit of your family’s take on horror as well. I was raised to have a rather negative perception of it when I was young, but over time I’ve seen instances where the genre can be good, and even have some definite upsides. At the very least it could help teach people to face and understand things with courage, even against odds that are unbelievably terrifying or look undefeatable. Horror isn’t the only way to do that of course, but it does seem to help at least some people in that way. And I could see how horror is more likely to have that positive effect when someone like your Grandma is nearby being a good example of courage.

  11. Love your tribute to your Granny, Parker! You are so blessed to still have her with you. I miss my own Grandma every day. But what wonderful memories! I love it that she instilled a love for monsters in you so young! My mother hates anything paranormal/monster-ish/scary. It’s hard to help her understand the reasons behind my own fascination with them. Gran wouldn’t have “gotten” it either, but she would have supported me as yours does. Give her an extra hug — from one who misses her Gran and can’t wait to see her again.

What do you think?