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    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    My Grandmother


    I was going through some old papers and I found a piece that I had written for my paternal grandmother more than 15 years ago. She died unexpectedly in 1999 and upon her death my father and his brothers found it while looking through her papers. It was filed with her birth certificate, marriage license and her will. I felt very happy that I had sent it to her before she had died. My father and uncles decided that I should read it at her funeral. When they told me this, I couldn't even say her name without crying so I wasn't sure how I was going to read it in front of hundreds of people.

    Years ago, one of my favorite things to do on a sunny day was to take long walks in the woods. These walks were best when taken with my grandmother. My father's mother knows more about wildlife and forest vegetation than most and she would give my sister and me little lessons as we walked.

    As we began our walk down the driveway toward the pasture, I would begin to become aware of the life around me. The first animals we would encounter were the cows with their calves munching on hay. They were not afraid of us and would continue on with their meal. On the other side of the pasture was a pond. We always stopped to see if we could find any frogs or fish. We were usually quite successful and always got to wade into the murky water.

    On we would go back to the path and up to the woods. The trail leading to the woods was wide enough for a tractor to pass through and very well traveled. We would climb what seemed as a child to be a humongous hill to get further back into the woods. Grandma would let us stop to rest several times. We found a couple of rocks that looked like couches where we would rest while Grandma told us what types of wildflowers were near us. She could also identify birds by their song. This always amazed my sister and me.

    After conquering the hill, we found the wild blueberries, blackberries and red raspberries. We ate our fill, smeared the juices around our mouths with our hands and continued on until we came to a gate. Beyond the gate we had a hard decision to make about which direction we would go. Most times we decided to go West. This took us through a corn field and on to a hay field. The hay field had a big bump of a hill and my sister and I always had to climb it and roll down the other side. Grandma would be waiting patiently on the other side as we came tumbling down with grass in our hair giggling all the way. After this field, we found some more woods.

    We stopped in this woods to eat. Grandma had meticulously packed sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and apples into a small basket. Kool-Aid was the drink of choice, stored in a mayonnaise jar. She always slipped in a few of her homemade cookies for dessert.

    After lunch it was time to play. There was a fallen tree that looked like a balancing beam that extended over a deep gully. Of course we had to walk this a couple dozen times. When we tired of this, we would find a grapevine that hung from the tops of 50 foot trees to swing on. I think all this play made Grandma a little uneasy, as we were little daredevils. There was a tree that came out of the ground straight but was then bent and looked like a horse with no head. Both my sister and I could ride on it with no problem.

    It was time to go back. Grandma had lots of chores to do. She had to work very hard on the farm. We tried to help her collect eggs from under the chickens but were more of a hindrance than a help. I was especially afraid of getting pecked by one. There was a mean rooster to deal with and Grandma saved us a couple of times from him. She carried a stick to keep him away.

    After collecting the eggs, we walked to the two acre garden. Grandma's garden was bigger than some people's yards. My sister and I were of very little help again since neither of us knew the difference between plants and weeds but Grandma could pull weeds with her eyes closed. If it was late summer, Grandma would bring something in from the garden to cook for supper.

    Grandma was the best cook ever. She could make a feast fit for kings out of what seemed like nothing. We loved to eat at Grandma's because she made things I didn't like taste great like cauliflower. She made buscuits for every meal. She mixed the dough, kneeded it and let us cut them out. To this day I try to cook like she did although not nearly as successfully.

    I was so lucky to have learned so much from my grandmother and I look forward to sharing my stories of her with my children.

    As I got up to read this, I realized that my knees were knocking together uncontrollably. I stepped up to the podium and began to read but no sound was coming out. I stopped reading and somehow pulled myself together (I think Grandma was with me) and was able to continue on without a glitch.

    After the funeral, several people that I didn't know came up to me and told me that they didn't know my grandmother (they knew my uncles) but felt that through my story they got a feeling of who she was.

    Reading this now, 6 years later, I realize that it is poorly written. I have a hard time being descriptive enough to give the mental pictures that I want people to see. I also had a hard time focusing and bringing ideas together. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I was able to give this to her and she obviously cherished it.

    11 comments:

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    Monica said...

    This made me cry. My granny belle died when I was 16 and I regret not having told her the things I loved about her often enough. I am so glad you got to share with yours before she passed on.

    MamaKBear said...

    I don't think it was poorly written at all! I could picture y'all every step of your walk, and all the things around you. Your Grandmother loved this obviously.

    I haven't thought about my own Nannie in awhile...she passed away the same year, I think. But now..I find my heart aching with the memory of her...she lived in Maine, while I have lived my whole life in Oklahoma, so I didn't get to see her often...I cherished the times I did.

    I have tears in my eyes now...I miss her so much!

    gigi said...

    Can't get on the YAHOO! not on my YAHOO PC!!

    DZER said...

    this was a sweet piece jenn ... and anyone who writes regularly will look at their older stuff and realize what they'd do now to make it better ... if you don't, then you're not growing or improving ... which you obviously are :)

    ~Deb said...

    Jenn---this was an incredible story. Sometimes when we can't handle a situation --like reading at a loved one's funeral, I do believe that the loved one is 'there'---as you say---and that God takes over---and lets you go on with what you 'had to do'...

    The memories you shared with us reminds me of memories with my mother when we would walk the trails behind my house, we would pick blackberries and then sit on a rock that looked like a chair.

    You brought back memories for me! So thank you!

    Incredible writer you are!

    {{hugs}}

    SignGurl said...

    Deb~ This is quite a compliment coming from you! Thanks and hugs right back.


    Dzer~ Thanks and I still have a very hard time getting out what I want to say in a cohesive fashion. I'm working on it.

    MamaK~ I'm glad to have brought back some good memories.

    Monica~ I'm sure she knew you loved her. That's a grandma's job. :)

    Anon~ Go straight to Hell! (If you're not already there.)

    Smokehouse said...

    nice pussy

    ken said...

    thanks to deb for pointing, indirectly the way here...great story..my ganny is 89, raised me, memories are a blessing beyond comprehension...it is what we give our children...and my aim was to provide many more positive remembrances than not....cool that you are a signmaker..as am i...love it...21 years and how technology has changed the business....almost posted anonymously..as i NEVER want to offend anyone..and my blog is not family friendly...so...forewarned you are....thanks again for warm thoughts you provide here!!! ken of louisiana...love this bog world i am exploring!

    SignGurl said...

    Smoke~ Thanks, I think so too.

    Ken~That blog of yours rocks! I love it!

    Chrissie said...

    very nice... i think i need to go call my Grammy