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    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    My Grandmother (a repost)

    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 biscuits 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, 12 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.

    12 comments:

    SignGurl said...

    I just had to beat G-Man and be first.

    The picture is of our oldest daughter and my grandma.

    terry said...

    poorly written? nah. it's really sweet.

    also shows how important it is to let the people we love know how we feel while they're still with us.

    G-Man said...

    CREEP!!

    Poorly written? Absolutely not!
    We should all be loved, and paid homage to like that. Your literary side is starting to explode Jenn.

    ..and if you act now, you can be #1

    MamaKBear said...

    Oh sweetie..I didn't think this was poorly written at all! I could picture every bit of your story in my mind's eye...and that, to me, is good writing! :)

    Besides...if your Grandma had this filed away along with such all-important papers as her birth certificate, marriage license, and will, she obviously placed a high value this as well.

    jillie said...

    One word...ok two words...

    simply beautiful!

    G-Man said...

    She recovered nicely for a blonde eh?

    wmy said...

    Everyone else has already said it, but...this was not poorly written at all...it was written in love, and it shows! I know you are probably snowbound in the house just like I am...so try and stay warm...Ya know what? I looked at temps all over the country, and it is colder here in Grand Rapids than it is in Ankorage Alaska...WTF??

    Hale McKay said...

    Pooh on "poorly written." Anything written from the heart can never be poorly written.

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful story.

    Hale McKay said...

    Oh, I'm visiting you by way of Top Cat.

    G-Man said...

    And I'm visiting you by way of "Hot Beautiful Sexy Blondes.Com". They were right!

    Mornin Jenn.

    uninvitedliketheclouds said...

    I love my Grammy lots, thanks for the nice post!

    gab said...

    Grandma stories are always the best. I only have a couple myself but Im sure my own kids have a few about both of thier grandmas.
    Poorly written no way hun! great job.