Friday, February 05, 2010

My Grandma

You know ... in my last post, I talked about making bread with my Grandma Greenwood. As I thought back over that post, I thought a little more about her.

This woman was the personification of a grandma. She was soft, smelled good - most of the time like something cooking in the oven, she played games with us, she would take the time to sit on the sofa and hold us just to let us know how much she loved us.

Grandma had 23 grandkids and loved us all unconditionally, even though some of us tested her mettle when it came to lifestyles and choices. She lived with a difficult man and raised 8 children, 7 to adulthood. She watched her families grow up and mourned the passing of several of her children.
She was born in 1900 and watched a lot of things occur in this world and my poor father had to deal with her death 6 months after my mom died.

She loved music and couldn't wait for any of us to get there and offer to play or sing for her. She would only ask if she knew we were ready, Grandma was never going to put us on the spot.

I loved going to her house. She had a sofa with a very strong nap and I remember playing on the back of that sofa, making patterns and pictures in that dark blue fabric. I played the organ in her house - the only time I ever enjoyed playing the organ. I remember playing "Onward Christian Soldiers" once and she came out from the kitchen to ask me to stop. She didn't believe in war of any sort and that song was much too militaristic for her. I stopped.

She had a few quirks and beliefs that she made clear to her family and though we may have disagreed, none of us could ever imagine doing anything to upset her. Grandma didn't use swear words and wouldn't allow literature in the house that contained them. Consequently there were a LOT of Reader's Digest Condensed books in that house.

When she cooked, she cooked for an army. She had fed a family of ten for so long, I think she couldn't imagine not having plenty of food on the table. But, it was as if her family knew when she was cooking, because before the meal was on the table, kids and grand kids would show up to share in the feast. She drove my mother crazy, due to her insistence on using every pot in the house to make a meal. Mom always knew she would be stuck in the kitchen washing dishes when everyone else had left. I was glad to be old enough to help Grandma with this so Mom could be elsewhere and not annoyed.

She made the worst green beans in the world, though. Those things went on the stove at the beginning of meal preparation and came off when everything was finished. I'd never eaten anything that tasted bad coming from Grandma's kitchen, except for those green beans. There was an amazing carrot salad that was one of her specialties. Believe it or not, I LOVED shredding the carrots in her grinder that she attached to the kitchen table. And the salad was fabulous.

At night, I would sit on the edge of her bed while she sat at her vanity and combed out her long hair. It was always pulled up in a bun during the day, but it dropped to the middle of her back. She knew that she needed to brush it one hundred times to keep it healthy, and she did. We'd talk about the day and then she would hug me and send me upstairs to bed.

Memories of Grandma include her pantry in the cellar, shelves filled with canned goods that she replenished every year, hanging clothes on the line outside nearly every day. There was always something coming out of that washing machine. We played a lot of Rook, Flinch and Milles Bornes. She didn't care who won, she just wanted to find ways to spend time with us. The cookie jar was always full and when she could no longer bake like she wanted, she made sure that it remained full, even if it was with store-bought cookies. Grandma did needlepoint and made quilts until her eyes got bad and her fingers couldn't remember their dexterity. Then, she turned to plastic canvas. She just knew that idle hands were the devil's workshop.

Jesus was the most important person in Grandma's life. One night as she lay in her bed suffering from a fever that nearly killed her, she prayed and prayed that Jesus would spare her life because she had such a large family to raise. She saw him at the foot of her bed that night, assuring her that she would be fine.

In everything she did and every word she said, she honored the relationship she had with Him.

I was impacted greatly by my mother, but my grandmother taught me about generosity, gentleness and kindness and what a life lived in humility and service to Jesus looked like.

1 comment:

Amy Purintun said...

Yesterday and today's posts are both wonderful. What an amazing set of female "bookends" in your life. :-)