This is the Grandma of my childhood.I remember her sitting on that step stool and climbing it to get to the cupboards above the stove like it was yesterday.If you look closely on the cupboard there is a radio and a cookie jar that bring back vivid memories.On the floor is one of the many rag rugs she made in the basement on her loom and she has on her apron that she always wore when she cooked.
The radio was on at every meal and every meal was at six,twelve,and six o’clock.The common table prayer before we ate was first on the agenda and then we listened to a local radio station out of Bad Axe called WLEW.They always reported the local news and the obituaries and we had to be quiet when that radio was on.If lunch ran a little over sometimes you could hear a few snippets of I Got A Tiger By The Tail sung by Buck Owens but not to often.They weren’t into that kind of stuff.It was all Christian music and the Polkas and if you spent the night on Friday you knew the polkas were on Saturday morning and Grandma taught more than one of us how to dance that hopping little polka dance on that kitchen floor.EIEIEIO EIEIEIO and around we would go.Grandma with a big smile and me hanging on for dear life.I loved dancing with Grandma and as we got older Linda and I were quite the polka divas at weddings and parties.
That cookie jar never held any cookies.It was mostly for looks because she liked it and was a wedding present.Grandma could tell you almost every wedding present she got and who she got them from.She had a memory like a steel trap and it makes me sick that same memory failed her before she died.I am going to ask when we are reunited why that had to be,because besides her kindness and love to her grandkids her beautiful mind was so wonderful to my sisters and me.
Besides being a seamstress and quilter she was baker and made many wedding cakes.More than once one of us got in trouble for stealing her rosette flowers she had drying on the little table in the front room of the basement.I could never figure out how she knew because there were so many of them.If you were there when she was making them you could have a sample but not when they were done.Nobody wanted the wrath of Elsie so we tried to be good,but sometimes it just wasn’t possible……
This little darling got in trouble at grandmas more than once.Grandma wasn’t only a baker,seamstress,and polka instructor she could also grow anything and she loved starting African violets from leaves.Linette as she has mentioned would play with them and Grandma would not like it.I imagine the soft velvet feeling of the leaves conjured up memories of her beloved pudz that she needed for comfort when sucking her thumb.I saw the mess after Linette’s attack on the plants one time and almost had a heart attack because I knew this wouldn’t be pretty.It’s a lucky thing Linette was a darky like Grandma used to call us because she lived to tell about it.
She loved to have people over and she loved to go visit.This is how I remember her always laughing before the dementia set in.She played cards and games with us and my favorite was cootie.She also taught us donkey that we play with our grandkids today.It was a staple to have her pop up pop corn in that silver pan she used to wash dishes in on the weekend.One side caramel corn with nuts the other side plain and canned grape juice from the basement or if you were really lucky a punch with Seven UP mixed in.I think to this day nothing can taste that delicious.
I hate that my Grandma never got the chance to leave this earth whole in mind and body.After the dementia got so bad when we went to see her in the nursing home she never spoke and it was heartbreaking.She was in a wheel chair in the dining room the last time that I saw her alive just a shell of the vibrant woman she used to be.She couldn’t feed herself anymore and I was trying to get her to take some nourishment.She wouldn’t open her mouth so I asked a nurse to help me.We finally got her to take a few mouthfuls of food and then I gave her a drink of milk through a straw.A little of it dribbled on her chin and I wiped it off with a napkin.It was then to my utter blessed amazement she looked at me and in that sweet sweet little voice said Thank You.Those were the last words I ever heard her say.You know it just figures that even in her last days on earth she would be teaching me something.I hope to be that way for my grandkids.I want them to know that even if they kill my house plants or steal the dog food like Linette and Loretta did when they were little that I will love them.I want my kids and my sisters to know that what ever path they take I will always want to be a part of their life.I want my nieces and nephews to know I think they are a treasure and my Mom to know that I adore her.Grandma taught me that.Even in her last days she was thankful and she told me thank you.I loved my grandma like my kids and nieces and nephews love mom so I guess things go full circle.It really is a blessing to have somebody care for you that much.I will pull her memory out of the past to make me realize that some blessings go on and on only in memories.That is best maybe because people can take a lot away from you but they can’t take your memories of love and family. So to that Grandma I say………………………….THANK YOU.Your Dilly