If you will indulge me,Friday morning after Thanksgiving my Grandma Richards passed away. I wrote the following in her memory.
Throughout Grandma's last days Aunt Becky and Aunt Juanita have been keeping us updated through a private facebook group message. On Monday, November 25th the "girl cousins" started a conversations about our memories.
I confessed my inability to visit Grandma at the hospital. My brain could not reconcile the lady who told me about something she had done this summer finishing with, "I don't think Bobby and Juanita and Becky were too happy about it but I am almost 92 years old and I will do whatever I dang well please!"to the barely conscious woman that had been described to me.
Beth said it best when she wrote " I do not want to remember this part of her. I have so many wonderful memories with her and that is what I want to remember." And we began sharing.
Many of our memories were of food and the kitchen. Oatmeal raisin cookies, tang, colby cheese and coke, that amazing vanilla ice cream she always had, beef and noodles, yeast rolls, peach milkshakes, fresh from the vine grape jelly, chipped beef on toast, toast with butter, grape jelly and bacon sandwiches.
As girls we all got to stand on the stool and "help" with dinner.
We always knew that when we heard the farm report on the radio we'd better get up or we'd miss breakfast. Lunch was served precisely at noon and Grandma would be listening to the "Bob Braun" show while she prepared it.
Once when she was needed in the field she entrusted me with taking the homemade pizza out of the oven for lunch. I got lost in a book and it was um... cajun. Troy still declared it edible, at least he ate enough of it!
One of my favorite things in Grandma's kitchen was the bucket of water on the counter, drawn fresh from the well each morning, with the metal ladle. The best tasting water ANYWHERE. Anyone who knows me knows that water is not my favorite. I am a diet coke girl all the way. But if I could have a bucket of that water and that ladle I would drink a bucket a day.
The well was an important mainstay in visiting Grandma. When we were playing outside in the summer, it's where we cooled off.
We loved playing in the hayloft of the barn, especially hide and seek. Our rule was that whoever was it went downstairs to count. One day I was it. Dale, Troy, Belinda, Beth and Katie were upstairs hiding, Katie needed to go to the bathroom. Belinda helped her find the "perfect spot" to go and I ran screaming to Grandma begging to take a bath. Grandma made it clear that baths were taken at night, with Ivory soap and Prell shampoo. I was allowed to rinse off at the pump.
Grandma wasn't exactly the "cuddly" grandma of the movies but we new of her deep love for us by the things she did for us.
We knew that even if her arms were full of vegetables from her enormous garden she would set them on the ground to push us on the swing until our feet touched the leaves or to spin us on the tire swing until we were dizzy.
Once when my son Troy was dying, my dad and Grandma came to Ft. Campbell to visit. Before she left, every dish was washed, every item of clothing washed, dried and folded and all the floors swept and scrubbed.
Grandma could convince Grandpa to do things like bringing a trough into the yard for us to fill with water and play in, put the racks from his truck in the yard with a tarp over it for a playhouse. She also kept him from lighting our rear ends up when we made a skylight out of the little tear we found in the tarp.
She not only tolerated our sliding down the stairs on our butts, she encouraged it.
She took us swimming in ponds and swam with us. In the winter when we went sledding she went with us.
Once I spent the night with Grandma on a school night for some reason. It snowed overnight and school was cancelled. Grandma had to agreed to strip tobacco at the Alford's and took me with her. It wasn't far and the roads were bad so we walked. At the top of the hill just out from the driveway, Grandma slipped and slid on her butt all the way down and halfway up the next. She got up, looked at me, still standing at the top of the hill, and said "Ok, your turn." as if she had planned it all along.
She gave us pie tins to make mud pies. She made ornaments with our names on them and had them hanging in the front window every Christmas.
She woke us up singing "Good Morning, Good Morning to you!" She played hymns on the piano buy ear.
One of the things I am most grateful for is that grandma took us to church with her. I don't know if we enjoyed church or the ride to church more. We loved when Grandma ramped the hills. As an adult I have tried to ramp those same hills and I am just not brave enough! Pretty sure that's where Katie got her driving skills!
We were blessed to have Grandma. We are thankful to have these and many more memories to share with our children and grandchildren. We are Thankful to have her as our example on "How to be a Grandma."