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Monday, November 15, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa B. - #17 and #18

This is Grandma and Grandpa B., my Dad's parents.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, my thoughts always turn to them.  I remember as a young child going to Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  It felt like every square inch was filled with people and/or food.  Grandpa would make this really yummy apricot drink and Grandma would make everything else, especially homemade rolls and pie.  I don't think she sat down all day and I never saw the clothes she wore because they were covered with an apron.  After dinner I sometimes had to help with the dishes (done by hand, of course).  I had to dry because I couldn't put my hands in the water; it was so hot I swear it was boiling, but Grandma had her hands in it constantly.  There were piles and piles of dishes so by the time we got to the end my towel would be dripping and I'd basically just be smearing the water around on the dishes.  The water was so hot, though, that they were probably dry by the time they got to the cupboard anyway.  Thanksgiving is also a tender time for me because my Grandpa died on the Thanksgiving before my mission.  Grandma called, Dad left, and the next thing I knew Grandpa was gone.

The Grandpa I knew was kind and gentle and humorous.  He used to tell me things like:  "Assumptions make an ass out of you and me" and stories like the one about the city girl and the country boy.  They were on a date riding in the country boy's wagon.  The city girl wanted him to hold her hand so she batted her eyes and told him that her hands were cold.  He gave her a funny look and told her that if her hands were cold then she ought to sit on them.  I was blessed to receive my Patriarchal Blessing from my grandpa.  It starts with the words: "a beloved granddaughter of mine".  Grandpa was always puttering around working on this and that (he built the house they lived in) and I think I knew he was going to die when we came to visit and he was just sitting in the rocking chair.

The Grandma I knew was strong and rigid.  Having raised four rowdy boys, I'm not sure she knew quite what to do with all us girls.  Her love and affection came in the form of food.  I always thought I was pulling one over on her when I would sneak sugar cubes and marshmellows from that one drawer in the kitchen, but there was always more the next time we came to visit, along with rolls or cookies or pie or candy.  Mom would tell us not to ask for food, but we didn't have to ask, it was just magically in our reach as soon as we walked in.  I used to be a little bit afraid of Grandma until I went on my mission.  She sent me a letter every week and those letters taught me who my Grandma really was.  She was an intelligent, determined woman who missed her husband desperately.  I cried often those first few months because she would tell me something that happened and then mention that she wished she could tell Grandpa.  Their love for one another continues to inspire me.

Grandma died when Kai was a baby.  Her last words to me were: "You take care of that boy".  Taking care of people was what Grandma knew and her death was a nightmare for me.  She was so strong and so used to fighting for life that she fought until the very last moment.  When she finally let go, I felt like an anchor had been cut and I was adrift.  Now, five years later, I'm happy for her.  She missed Grandpa horribly for a long time and now they're together again.  But I still miss them both very much.


sues2u2 said...

I miss them too. Sometimes I cry because I miss them so much. Really glad that you shared these memories, Skipper.

Pat said...

Mom and I had a different relationship. Not different by normal standards, most would say, "yeah that's your mother-in-law". But by the fact that I learned so much from her. I didn't learn at her knee so to speak because I was all grown up but she taught me the importance of caring for others especially when Dad was so sick she fiercely took care of him. She taught me to love pies even strange ones, like Huckleberry pie for instance. Oh and her pie crusts were to die for and of course her rolls. They were her trade mark. Oh and her fish! That's why I always try to make pies because she taught me it is important thing to do. I learned to love her and one of the reasons was - the way she raised her son, my husband. She taught me some things are more important than others. I too was heart broken when she and Dad died. They were my "second" parents. I had known them most of my life and they belonged in my life. I respected them and loved them. I am so glad you girls were able to get to know them.