My Grandmother ~ I Remember Love
Definition of a Lady
Every child should have a Grandmother like mine. She was the definition of love. She was never too busy for me, she never got mad, she never screamed, she never grew tired of listening to me and she never turned me away.
She was the epitome of a lady. She was beautiful, polite, graceful, confident, quiet and peaceful. Her manners were impeccable and her home was always immaculate. She could effortlessly hostess a dinner party or she could simply entertain over baloney, cheese and crackers and you would feel you were at a feast fit for a queen because she was in attendance. Having her attention was like having the sun shine just on you and somehow warm you from the inside out.
That sun set when she died several years ago, but I remember love.
Photo from the Family Album of Sylvestermouse
My Grandmother, The Caregiver
I don't remember a time during my youth that my grandmother wasn't taking care of someone. She took meals to shut-ins, she stayed at the bedside of the ill ministering to their needs, she gave generously in time and money. She spent countless hours in prayer for the ones she loved as well as the ones she barely knew.
When her elderly great cousin became ill, my grandmother took her in. For years she cared for her, fed her, took her to her doctors, waited on her hand and foot. What she got in return was cussed, slapped around, ridiculed and mocked. But she took it all in stride and defended her relative. No one could convince her that her great cousin was unworthy of her care.
Out of eight siblings, when her mother got sick, it was my grandmother who took her into her own home and nursed her back to health. She doted on her like she was a child until she was able to return to her own home. After which, my grandmother went to her mothers' home almost daily with meals or medicine even though several of her siblings lived closer. And it was my grandmother who found her mother the day she died having fallen asleep on the couch and thus resting peacefully in the arms of God.
No one was ever turned away by my grandmother. I have no idea how many people she helped throughout her life, but I know she was loved and she loved without reason.
Now anytime I see someone helping an elderly person, I remember love.
Oh, The Stories My Grandmother Could Tell
I loved the times when my grandmother would tell me stories about her childhood. Since I was raised in the city, her childhood reminisces were better than any book.
My grandmother was a country girl. Yes, a real farm girl. She planted crops, picked cotton and her family hosted the occasional hay ride, party and dance.
One of my favorite stories that she would tell was about her father and moonshine. It seems the family was hosting a Fourth of July dance on their farm. All of the family and friends gathered for this all day party, my teetotaler great-great-grandmother included. My great-great-grandmother was definitely opposed to partaking of alcoholic beverages of any kind. It is my understanding that not only did she turn folks in for making moonshine, but she also took part in raids to destroy known distilleries. Unbeknownst to her, my Great Grandfather liked his moonshine and made it with the best of them. He was always able to stay one step ahead of her until the fireworks of this 4th of July celebration.
As the story goes, they had finished their picnic and were all sitting around relaxing and talking when they heard a popping noise that sounded like a gunshot. In the country a gunshot is not necessarily a reason for alarm. There are all kinds of varmints that require attention in the fields.
However, it seems my great grandfather had an inkling of what it might be and ran for the barn where he had buried his brew to keep it cool. Sure enough, his bottles were bursting and his secret was no longer safe. Even though he tried to hide his deeds, the bottles continued to "pop" until they drew his mothers' attention. Upon her entry into the barn, there was no mistaking the smell. Having fully taken in the scene at hand, she turned on her heels, flounced out of the barn without saying a word and returned to her seat as if nothing was happening, but that night, when night was its darkest, my great grandfathers' moonshine still was destroyed.
No one in the world could tell a story better than my Grandmother. Now when I recount this story, I remember love.
My Grandmother, The Gardener and The Teacher
My grandmother loved to work in her gardens. She had one for vegetables and one for flowers. She would take me with her to her gardens and we would work side by side until dusk and then we would play cards and drinks cokes. What a blast!
I didn't realize at the time how much I was learning. I was just having fun with my Mudder, our name for her. We clipped dead heads, pulled weeds, picked & shucked corn, snapped beans and laughed the day away. The next day we would blanch, cook and can. I must admit it was pretty neat to pull out a jar of green beans for supper weeks later and know I had helped a little.
She had a pecan tree and we would pick pecans up off the ground. Lots of pecans. We would hold back a sack for cracking ourselves, but most of them went to a little store with a machine that cracked and separated them for us. Then we would take the fruits of our labor and make pecan pies. Although I have never particularly liked pecans, I do like Karo pie and I always enjoyed messing up the kitchen with my grandmother.
Let me tell you though, there was nothing like helping her make plum preserves and oh, man, the way she could make a party out of peaches. Peach preserves, peach ice cream, peach pies, yum! Just a plain peach cut in half tasted better when she touched it.
Now anytime I see a pecan tree, shuck corn, peel a peach or clip a rose, I remember love.
The Tasty Trick
I enjoyed spending weeks out of each summer with my grandmother. She would let me dress up in her clothes and wear her high heels. When I was there, she took me everywhere she went. I never felt like I was in her way. We went to baseball games, fed the ducks in the park, ate ice cream for lunch and visited all of my great aunts and uncles.
One summer evening, we went to her Sunday School dinner party. Well, I want you to know the dinner was the best! I raved over the Chicken and Dumplings and stuffed my little self until I couldn't hold another bite. We were driving home in my Step grandfather's new car and I was still chattering about the dinner. My step-grandfather started snickering and he said, "I'm glad to know you like Squirrel and Dumpling." It only took a brief moment for it to register with me that what I assumed was chicken, was in fact Squirrel Nutkin. Well in my defense, any moron knows a child of 8 or 9 years loves Beatrice Potter and squirrels. I was stunned and mortified. I had eaten a little squirrel. I threw up! Yes, it is true. I quite literally vomited in his brand new beautiful car.
While that upset my step-grandfather greatly, it did not make my Grandmother mad, well at least not at me. Nope, she took my side in the whole fiasco. As soon as we got home, she cleaned my face with a cold, wet washcloth, spoke to me softly and hugged me until I fell asleep. We never talked about that night again, but we frequently watched the squirrels out her front kitchen window.
When I see a squirrel now, I remember love.
The Definition of Love
My Grandmother, The Definition of Love
One of the definitions for love in Wikipedia is "affectionate concern for the well-being of others."
The Bible says "Love is patient, Love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps not records of wrongs."
I Corinthians 13:4
See, even Wikipedia and the Bible know the definition for love is my Grandmother.