Daisy Ainsworth Colbert Ridgeway went to her Heavenly home on Saturday, March 13, 2021, at Pontotoc Nursing Home, where she just celebrated her 95th birthday. Mrs. Daisy was a resident of Houston, MS, and a member of First United Methodist Church.
Born the youngest child of Virgil O. and Mary Ellen Ainsworth in New Augusta, MS, on February 7, 1926, she was spoiled by her older siblings: Clinton, Clyde, Breland, Cleveland, and Cleo Ainsworth, Myrtis Ainsworth Clifford, and Mertis Ainsworth Harrelson, who all preceded her in death. Meeting her at the Pearly Gates are the loves of her life, husband of 38 years Joseph Mitchell “J.M.” Colbert and second husband and crafting-companion John Ridgeway, as well as many special brothers- and sisters-in-law.
Named for a delicate flower, Daisy loved tending to her own flowers and kept a beautiful yard! She proudly accepted the title, “Yard of the Month,” in Houston several times. Her yard was the envy of all, but she was always willing to share her bounty or just some helpful advice. However, no one ever had the green thumb Miss Daisy did!
As wife and mother, Daisy was the neighborhood caretaker. She was a homemaker who raised four children; whom, although they often gave her fits, absolutely thought she hung the moon. She was cake-decorator, home-perm giver, ceramic maker, and talented seamstress. In the days before the modern luxuries of microwaves, dishwashers, and clothes dryers, she worked hard to make sure her family was always taken care of and knew they were loved. She always had a table full of food when Jay, as she affectionately called her husband, came home. He would often bring guests with him, so she never knew how many she would need to feed, but she always made it work! With four children and a hard-working husband, this sweet Southern Belle always kept an immaculate home, although mischievous Mike often made it difficult.
As a grandmother and great-grandmother, she was a story-teller and advice-giver. Her grandchildren always knew that the apple cookie jar had oatmeal cookies and the recycled peanut butter jars on the counter had orange slices, strawberry candies, and bubble gum. And, occasionally, she would have one of her favorites – Maple Nut Goodies! The Disney books were on the bottom shelf and the rest of the toys were behind Grandaddy’s chair. Grandkids were welcome to all, as long as they cleaned up completely and returned things to their proper place. Kids did not go in the formal living room or dining room and NOBODY sat on the beds. However, Justin could get away with anything! “That baby,” as she referred to him long into adulthood, was always her favorite and everybody knew it!
Daisy loved to have all of her family together for holidays! Thanksgiving was a special holiday, as we always got together the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This was partly due to plans with that “other side” of the family, but mostly due to folks going to the Egg Bowl to cheer on our Dawgs. Daisy made the dressin’, which she swore was always too dry – long before anyone tasted it! It was perfect, but we all went along with her and agreed just for fun! Sweet potato casserole had pecan topping on most of it and marshmallows on the rest, because she knew some of her more difficult children and grandchildren preferred it that way, and she wanted everyone happy. Her strawberry congealed salad was so good, it could be eaten as dessert! Butter dishes were in the cabinet to take home leftovers, and we always took home more of our favorite dishes to enjoy later, especially the college kids and newlyweds.
There are many other traditions that started with Daisy: Party Mix was made every Christmas, and all girls in the family have carried on that tradition. Other knowledge she bestowed upon her family is: Ivory dish soap is perfect for washing dishes and babies, Heinz ketchup is kept in the cabinet and not in the fridge, Kraft mayonnaise is the best, chips last longer if you keep them in the freezer, and Blackburn Syrup is the ONLY syrup to go on your biscuits. If you went over for “dinner,” you would often find her watching her stories, especially Days of Our Lives, which is watched by all of her daughters and granddaughters, as well. Friday was beauty shop day with Patsy Kilgore, so you knew not to expect her home that day. Daisy was serious about her hair and was always “fixed up,” even when she was in the nursing home. She also taught all of the generations of girls in our family that if you get up and put on a little lipstick, you will just feel better. She said Jay always told her, “Even an old barn looks better with a little paint!” And, she loved to share that with any young lady she would meet, especially those with bare lips.
Mother, Grandmother, and Gan-Gan were all names for our beloved Daisy. When asked by her loved ones about things that make them think of her they said:
“Cardinals! Well, all birds really!” She always fed the birds in her yard. She would get mad (and then get tickled) at the squirrels that would climb the bird feeders out back. She also kept several hummingbird feeders and loved to watch them each spring. Her large collection of Lenox birds were a favorite of hers and were proudly displayed in her den for many years.
“Flowers!” She knew all the names of flowers and plants! She could plant seeds, bulbs, or “root” a cutting, and they would grow beautifully in her yard. Don’t think she was only about the flowers, she would mow, weedeat, mulch, and rake to make her yard look like a spread in Home and Garden magazine!
“Lipstick!” A family friend of her granddaughter texted upon finding out about Mrs. Daisy’s passing, “I will always think of Daisy when I leave the house without my lips painted.”
Daisy will be missed by all who knew and loved her. She was truly a one-of-a-kind, special lady. Her family would like to thank all of Mrs. Daisy’s special “angels” that lovingly took care of her in her final years at Pontotoc Nursing Home. They truly became like family and some even referred to her as “Grandmother.”