Maumadale keeps seniors in stitches

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

Features Editor

Folks might not remember Aunt Prissy May, but they’ll not soon forget Maumadale. She’s a cross between Mayberry’s Cora Mae, Drew Carey’s Mimi, Minnie Pearl and Granny Clampett.

Maumadale looks like Cora Mae, dresses like Mimi, jokes like Minnie Pearl and talks like Granny Clampett.

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Rolled into one, that’s quite a package – a hilarious one at that.

Maumadale arrived at the Colley Senior Complex from Toad Hunter Holler just in time to interrupt a boring speech at the ERMC Senior Circle gathering. She came rushing in to tell tales about her Aunt Prissy Mae.

"Ain’t Prissy always wanted ta look prudy when she was a- leavin’ church," Maumadale said. "So, durin’ the closin’ prayer, she’d slip open her purse, git out her powder and power her nose. One Sunday, she reached in her purse to git the powder and got hold to the rouge instead. She dabbed it all over her face and came outta church a-looking like a clown."

According to Maumadale, Aunt Prissy Mae aggravated everybody at the church wanting to put on a "can-ta-ta," but no one could figure out what a can-ta-ta was.

After putting her mind to it, Maumadale figured it out. A can-ta-ta had something to do with "cordin’ and sangin" and she learned to do both. Now she can ta-ta all over the place. And she does.

Ann Gramblin has been playing the role of corny, comical

Maumadale since she was in high school "in Elbie – way back yonder in the dark ages."

"A friend and I had a comedy routine that we did in talent shows and I’ve just never stopped," Gramblin said, laughing.

She grew up, but she never outgrew Maumadale.

Her husband is a Methodist preacher, "of all things," so they moved around quite a bit.

She taught school everywhere they went and taught a variety of ages and subjects – K through 12 and music, chorus and "Anglish." And

her corny, comedy reputation follower her wherever she went.

So from time to time, she would take leave of her learnin’ and git back to bein’ Maumadale.

She now combines her stand-up comedy routine (in which her husband acts as the straight man) with her musical talents – a-cordin’ and a-sangin’ and everywhere she stands up, she’s a hoot – a hoot from "the holler."

"Almost all of my material is original," she said. "Fact is often funnier than fiction."

Gramblin has a rare talent for finding something humorous in almost any situation and then an equally rare talent of telling about it.

"I really did swallow a dip of snuff to keep anybody from knowing I had it in my mouth," she said, laughing. "I learned to speak the traditional South Alabama dialect from listening to people talk – even my relatives.

"At a family reunion a short time ago, one of my cousins pointed out another’s, ‘fi-ancy,’" she said. "Another relative corrected him. ‘It’s not fi-ancy, it’s fee-ancy!’

And, even though she’s not a country music fan, Gramblin has learned much about performing by watching the Grand Ole Opry and, of course, Minnie Pearl.

When Grambin sits down at the piano, the laughter doesn’t stop. It gets louder and longer with her renditions of her three favorite songs, "Maple on the Hill," Precious Jewel, and Foggy River."

As long as people continue to ask her to perform, she will – as long as they keep on laughing.

If all the hootin’ the members of the Senior Circle did is any indication,

the corny lady from Toad Hunter Holler will be in demand for a long time.