What is it about hanging out with Grandmothers that is so damned inviting? Is it the calmness, tranquility, the consistency of their lifestyle? Playing cards, reading the paper, making cookies, coleslaw or daily dinners? The healthy, home cooked meals are always a delight. And who doesn't love having someone who thinks everything you do is a miracle?
Maternal Grandma taught me to eat peaches over the sink, scramble eggs just so, and how to fold a fitted sheet. She thought I was a genius chess player. Never did she realize that the secret to so many of my winnings, were a direct outcome of her revealing every one of her maneuvers, as she stated them out loud. She was too absorbed in the game, to notice that she was constantly revealing her strategy. As she passed over a decade ago, she'll never know that I'm a barely passable chess player. Anyone heading to heaven before me, please don't let her know. It still feels good to my ego, pretending that I am a family champion player.
I wear her wedding ring on my right pinkie. Could be my overly inventive mind, but it still holds her energy. When I do something stupid, it's a link to a vision of her shaking her head, telling me to be good. When I shut up and listen, I can hear her wise advise. Like always see the woman before the make up; the ultra classic: if you don't have something nice to say about another person, then just don't say anything; and in order for love to be real, it must be reciprocated. Do people still talk like that?
Paternal Grandma is still kicking up a storm. Albeit a slower storm. Okay, maybe like a light mist of a storm. But her spirit, mind and direct, honest words will never slow down a beat. She is one of the Oklahoma immigrants from the Dust Bowl in Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath'. A childhood of extreme poverty is something too painful for discussion with me, memories she shies away from.
I don't believe I ever had the privilege of wondering what she's thinking. It always comes out in blunt, tactful, honest conversations. Pre-navy days, before my ears were accustomed to dirty jokes, she could bring a blush to my cheeks with her good-natured humor. She taught me that growing old pertains to the body, not the attitude of it's owner.
She, too, thinks I am a much better person than I really am. Although she is quick to complain that she has used up more than one address book, trying to keep up with my many moves. Next one I make, I'm going to mail her a new book, with a box of pencils and big erasures. No use denying my traveling spirit. Even a Grandmother can't hold me to a city.
Her biggest wish now is being able to dance with her husband. They were quite the earth shattering, dance duo, not long ago. Simple love like that is not to be brushed away.
Today's life style is much more hurried than theirs was. We all have built in, life stressors, just different ones with each passing decade. But spending time talking face to face was a norm. Seeing the other person's reactions to your words could not be deleted. Appreciating times of laughter was not done with an lol. You got to see it happen. In fact, those are my best memories of being with both grandmothers. Sharing a laugh.
Think I'll have to bake some chocolate cookies and reflect some more on the blessings of grandmothers. I'll be sure to bake them on the top oven rack, as taught to me by Grandma.
Moving advice from the expert, as accused by Grandma:
Admirer of Grandmothers