Saturday, February 2, 2008

Can't believe I forgot this blessing

Today (Ground Hog Day) would have been my grandma's 100th birthday! She died 5 years ago at the amazing age of 95. She was in great shape, living alternately with my dad and his sister for about the last 2 years. She went to the hospital for what was supposed to be a short stay while they adjusted her potassium levels and she told the nurse she was going to take a nap and never woke up. It was all very peaceful.

She was my favorite grandma and blessed me in so many ways. I still miss her and think about her almost every day.

Here is a letter I wrote for my grandma for her 95th birthday. She died in August of that year.

Dear Grandma,

I was thinking how blessed I was to spend 34 years of my life with you. I started thinking of some of the memories I had of time we spent together. I was astounded by how many there were.

Most of the very earliest memories I have in my life have something to do with you. The very first memory I have in my life is cutting my finger drying a cup at your house. I think I was there because Sarah was being born. I was 2 weeks shy of two.

I remember on the farm:
The chickens in their cages and the eggs rolling down.
Candling eggs.
Your collie, Chip.
Napping on your bed on the farm. I loved that light on the headboard!
The day you moved to town.
Eating windmill cookies at Great-Grandma’s house.
Hearing people talk about Great-Grandma dying. Dad held me up to look in her casket.
I still have the sweater and hat you made for me when I was little.

In your house in town:
Sleeping on quilts on the floor in your bedroom. You could hear the TV through the floor. I loved sleeping on the floor!
Your bedroom smelled like the powder you wore.
The silver mirror on your dresser.
Sleeping with Sarah in the other bedroom.
The little nightlight in the hall.
Hearing you and Grandpa kiss each other goodnight
Waking up in the morning and listening to the grandfather clock chime.

Eating eggs and bacon for breakfast.
Drinking real orange juice you made from a tiny can. Hated it. We were used to Tang!
Eating homemade bread with peach jam.
I still can’t watch gameshows without thinking of you.
Lying on the couch watching The Price is Right when I was sick.
Watching Lawrence Welk. BORING!
Getting off the bus at your house every Friday from Kindergarten.
It was so boring waiting for you to do the egg tickets for Grandpa. We wanted you to be done so you could play with us!
Getting to ride along in the egg truck with Grandpa while he did his route.
Grandpa would pay us a quarter to help him pack eggs at the egg building.
Teaching me to play Solitaire at the counter.
Playing Concentration with me at the table.
Playing with the little china dishes in the toy box. There wasn’t a complete matching set and this drove me crazy, but they were such fascinating little dishes. They were real!
L’eggs eggs! The best toy! Giant eggs were fun!
The way the hall closet smelled where you kept our toys. I can still smell it!
You always let us take apart your spice cupboard to play store on the steps. The best things were Jello boxes and the spices.
Baking chocolate chip cookies! Sarah and I used to sneak dough. When the phone rang, we would sneak more dough, and you couldn’t reach us to shoo us away, so you sprinkled flour on top of the dough to keep us out.
Playing pool in the basement
Playing “bar” in the basement.
Sitting on Grandpa’s lap and he’d tickle us or take our hands and slap our faces. When we screamed you always yelled at him to quit making us scream.
When we were naughty (which wasn’t very often) you’d tell us you were going to tell Dad when he picked us up.
Wash day was fun because we got to watch you put the clothes through the ringer. Ironing was SO boring, though. I couldn’t wait until that was done, but I loved the old sprinkler bottle and how you rolled up the clothes before you ironed them.
I still have the sampler you helped me learn to embroider on, but I never finished it. It was my name in great big letters.
Helping you do the TV Guide crossword puzzle.
Friday morning, going to get your hair done at Mrs. Soukup’s
It was more fun to take a bath at your house because your bathtub was upstairs.

Eating one scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and walnuts ground through the nut grinder in a little green bowl in the afternoon.
When there wasn’t vanilla, the only other choices would be black cherry or butter brickle. Yuck!
Sometimes there were ice cream sandwiches! Yum!

You paid Sarah a quarter to sing in the children’s choir because she wouldn’t sing.
Seeing you walk into church with the choir in your blue robe.
Sitting next to you in church and listening to you sing hymns. When I hear certain hymns now, I still hear you singing them.
Karen and I playing our clarinets for your Ladies Aid.

My favorite things you cooked:
Carrots for dinner. That’s still the only way I like cooked carrots.
Coleslaw and cucumber salad—your recipes are both our favorite way to eat them.
Beef roast
Boiled potatoes
Chicken soup with the chicken on the side
Hot dish
Eating frozen chocolate chip cookies right out of the freezer.
Pistachio torte.
Christmas cookies (snowballs!)
Mint fudge
“Lunch” in the evening…soft boiled eggs with melted butter, sharp cheddar cheese, sliced meat (what was that?) and a slice of bread.
One time Sarah and I put ketchup under her nose at lunch when you were away from the table and we told you she had a bloody nose. You got all worried and ran to get a towel. Then you were really mad when you found out it was only ketchup!

Aunt Ruth got locked in the bathroom once. Then I was always afraid to shut the bathroom door tight.
I slammed my finger in the door from the garage to the house and cut it. The wind slammed it shut on me. I still have a scar.
The doorbell says, “chink chunk.”
Wiping dishes. Boring! Grandpa always made us go help while he took a nap on the couch.

Staying overnight at your house on Canasta nights.
Eddie made great Grasshoppers and we got to have some!
It was boring when you had to answer the phone for Tony.
Trick-or-treating at your house. It was the only place we got to go!

Underwear for birthday presents. It made Mom and Dad happy!
All the gift boxes were taped shut.
You gave me a musical jewelry box with a little ballerina in it one year.
I’m wearing the gold cross necklace you gave me when I was little.
I keep the granny-square afghan you made me in my cedar chest.
I have the patchwork quilt you made me on my bed.

Butchering chickens at our house. Grandpa chopped off the heads, you and Dad schlooked out the guts, Donna picked off the pinfeathers and Jerry mostly watched. Smokey nibbled scraps off the ground.
You, standing on a chair swinging a towel, shouting “Wheeeeee!”
Teasing you about standing on a chair with a towel, shouting “Wheeee!”

Reading women’s magazines at your house. Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Women’s Day. I learned a lot about grown-up life!
You always invited Mr. GT to come for dinner on holidays when we were dating. I really appreciated that!

Listening to stories you told about when you were young.
Seeing your long hair you had cut when you were young.

Most of all, how much you loved us and how we loved you.

I love you Grandma!

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