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Opening my childhood backpack, remembering my grandpa Rob and my grandma Minnie
They were as different as daylight and darkness
My grandma Minnie and my grandpa Rob were married for sixty-five years. They were as different as daylight and darkness. He loved to laugh and have fun. He was always playing practical jokes on family and friends. He was a tall man, very handsome with a heavy growth of blond hair. He had smiling eye's full of mischief. Strickening different, my grandma Minnie. She was stern and serious. She was also tall and thin with long reddish brown hair that reached the floor when she sat in her chair brushing it. She wore it in a tight bun on top of her head. ( She believed it was a sin for a woman to cut her hair. )
Her philosophy concerning religion was full of brimstone, hell and damnation. She was a devout pentecostal believer. She spoke in tongues and was most happy when she was at church, clapping her hands, singing, and tapping her feet to the lively music.
I went with her a few times when I was a child and usually felt afraid of God.
She frequently went to religious retreats to seek a more pure relation with God.
That's when my grandpa Rob would bring out all his hidden paraphernalia to make his blackberry wine. My mother was his sidekick in this ' most sinful act. ' I remember my mother saying, " Boy when you drink dad's wine, it lasts the next day too. "
I was twelve when my grandpa fell ill. My mother sat at his bedside for two days and nights before he passed away. She listened as he prayed, asking God to forgive him for making fun of grandma's religion. ( He would mock her actions by clapping his hands and talking gibberish. ) He then asked God to forgive him for beating one of his horses so badly, it died the next day. It was well known that he had an uncontrollable temper at times.
My grandma Minnie lived twenty years after grandpa Rob died. She spent the last two years in a nursing home. She was totally blind due to diabetes. She refused any kind of medication. ( It was a sin. )
She died quietly one Sunday afternoon. Her meal had been served and she ate all the food on her tray. She then laid across her bed and died. The staff were unaware until they came in to pick up her tray.
I remember thinking at her funeral, " Grandpa has waited a long time for you, I bet he's standing at the gate with arms wide open, his eye's smiling and still full of mischief, and possibly grandma Minnie has a surprised look on her face. "