Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The End of My Ole Cigar

In my mind, I've composed this post a half dozen different times, but never wrote it. I think because I felt whatever I wrote would be hugely inadequate. How do you sum up in a blog post some of the most amazing 96 years? How could I sum up the impact on my life that my grandma had? I realize tonight just how much I want her legacy to live on in my family and future generations because we all need a "hero" to look to - not the movie star or pro athlete kind, but the real kind who takes life by the horns and lives it...well.

Growing up, my grandma was my best friend. I think I was at her house more than my own. She was the perfect blend of fun, teaching, mischievousness, and godliness all wrapped in one. She made the most amazing pancakes, the best way to describe is "fried in bacon grease." But she didn't just make them for me, she'd always make a few extra for me to go share with one of the neighbors' dogs as she knew my love for animals. She was a bit of a schemer - we went behind my parent's backs to get my brother and I kittens. We baked hundreds of loaves of bread, pies, and other sweet treats together and she always knew to leave me a bit of raw dough. We fished and cleaned fish. We gardened. We played countless games of SkipBo and Uno. We had many slumber parties where she would read me from one of her classics - Old Bones, Little Women, or My Naughty Little Sister - in her English accent. And then, the Royals. Watching Kate and Wills really brought me back to her living room and watching Di and Charles. She had several large picture books of the wedding that I poured over. She loved Lady Di - I think that's probably the only thing she held on to from the "Mother Land" besides the accent.

I could seriously go on, and on, and on about the memories of my grandmother, and someday I hope to at least for my childrens' and future grandchildrens' sake. But I would be completely remiss if I didn't touch on the most important aspect of my grandma's life - her faith.

Most people of faith, present company included, keep it mostly personal and try to live as God instructs, but under the radar. Not grandma...she was the consumate live out loud preacher from dusk til dawn. It permeated every part of her life and everyone knew it. She was a professional hugger and lover, which is why so many were drawn to her. People want to be loved and she was so genuine. Not just easy-to-love people - she specialized in the unlovable! I remember a girl about my age at church who had some "issues" shall we say. She came from a broken home, was probably abused to some degree, had hearing aids, and was just socially very akward. I tried to avoid her like the plague, but not grandma. She showered her with hugs, little treats, and positive attention. She would invite her to tea and sandwhiches and try to instill some social graces on her - just because she was so loving doesn't mean she held back, oh no, she's the first to correct. Grandma would invite me to these teas as well, I think to try to teach me through osmosis. I wish I could say I absorbed it all, but only in the last several years have I really understood the beauty of this side of her. There are countless other examples similar to that girl - humbling really. She did it all to mirror God's amazing love to us - we are all socially unacceptable when compared to his standards.

I've missed my grandma so much these last few years as she's been with us, but not. Now that she's really not, it's that much more raw. But also that much more joyous! All she ever wanted was to be with Jesus! I know she's dancing a jig to the End of My Ole Cigar in her new, young, perfect body!