Vidalia grandmother gives all for family

Published 1:22 am Monday, September 3, 2007

VIDALIA — Everyday, Linda Tarver’s peace and quiet is shattered.

And that’s the way she likes it.

Each afternoon, she goes to her daughter’s house at 7 East Circle to meet her grandchildren as they get off the school bus.

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Tarver’s world revolves around family. Her favorite trips have been those with her children and grandchildren.

Tarver has been a part of big families all her life. She had six siblings growing up and, with her husband Bennie, raised five children of their own in their Ferriday home.

But more children meant tighter funds when her children were young, she said.

“Now I’m able, I can do more for my grandkids than I did for my kids,” Tarver said. “It’s different than raising your own.”

Her children all have birthdays close together, so when they were young, celebrations weren’t lavish, she said.

“Whoever’s birthday it was got a T-bone steak, and the rest would eat tacos and stuff,” she said. “They never really had parties.”

Now, the grandchildren each have birthday parties, and Tarver makes all the food.

Her recipe for creamy tacos is a huge hit among family and guests alike.

Along with helping host birthday parties, Tarver takes regular trips with her grandchildren to Baton Rouge and to visit family in Biloxi. The whole family has been to Disney World and Gatlinburg, Tenn., one of Tarver’s favorite trips.

Tarver’s involvement in her family has been more than enjoyable — it’s been a godsend, daughter Tina Tarver said. Her mother often helps care for Tina’s 5-year-old daughter McKinley Malcomb.

“I don’t know what I’d do without her,” she said.

Tarver said she loves spending time with her family and doesn’t mind pitching in now and then.

“My life’s never boring,” Tarver said.

Bennie Tarver, who works offshore for Callon Petroleum, joins the gang when he’s home.

“If he hangs out with me, he has to be with the grandkids,” Tarver said, smiling.