I’ve always thought it was sad that we wait until someone is dead to really celebrate their life. I mean, if you really love someone, shouldn’t you want them to know that? So today I’m going to do that. Unfortunately, it’s probably later than I should have. I’m not dwelling on that too much though. Instead I’ll make note, and make a more concerted effort to do better next time.
When I was very small, she taught me to make scrambled eggs. I was short enough that I had to stand on a dining room table chair next to the kitchen counter. I learned how to crack them, empty the egg into the bowl without getting any shell in, and then beat them quickly with a fork, adding a little milk to help make them fluffy. My first attempts were less than perfect, by a long shot, but she ate them and smiled anyway. Later I learned the art of cornbread and Spanish rice and pound cake, among other foods. While they’re all good when I make them, they were better from her kitchen.
I was not hugely into dressing up as a small child, but she had an old, worn, Kelly green bath robe that I loved. It was soft, and it allowed me to pretend that I could do anything and be anyone. That bath robe smelled like her, but it also smelled like imagination and fun and childhood.
When we were small, she told us stories. They were fantastical tales, but almost always involved her grandchildren being heroes and heroines in some wonderful fashion. I’m firmly convinced that she was the only person in the world that could make us all sit still, and quiet, for more than three minutes at a time. I’m also sure that she taught us all that she believed in us, always. It’s really the most important lesson you can teach a child.
I got my love of Arkansas football from her. It’s genetic; I can’t help it, and I wouldn’t want to. I got my deep faith from her and I got my love of books and stories from her. My quick sense of humor comes from her, and so does my nose, and my gray hair. She’s where I got my love for feeding people and having them into my home. I think, in order to honor her, I’ll try to learn some of her gentleness and patience.
I’m proud that she is my grandmother. I’m so sorry that my husband didn’t know her at her best and that my kids won’t know her. Thankfully though, I’ve got memories. And pictures. And stories about how she broke her ankle in her 80s playing kickball and was impossibly generous, almost to a fault. In an effort to honor her, I’ll do my best to emulate her quiet grace, her sense of humor, her hospitality, her faith, and her love for others.