Thursday, August 02, 2007

Homage to Grandmas

Red Gernaium Cottage posted a really nice story about her Grandma, and made me think again of mine. Grandma went to heaven 10 years ago, but Altzheimers took her away from us long before that. When I was growing up, we were special friends; "Linked in Life" as she said. She firmly believed in past lives and often would tell me that she and I have been together in all of our lives, all thru time. A great reader of Edgar Caycee, she loved to think out loud and conjecture - and I lapped it up. She introduced me to Kahil Gilbran and dozens of alternative type ideas of LIFE and beyond. Not in a strange, creepy way, just matter of fact and with a wide open mind. One of my best memories is going with her to rent horses for an afternoon. The expense for her must have very serious, and she saved for months to be able to take me riding. She was 58, I was 12 that summer of 1966, and we rode like cowboys. I was worried about her "advanced old age" and riding a horse, she was worried I'd fall off. We always had a galloping race along one stretch on dirt road under a canopy of trees. I can picture it so clearly. About that same time we played badmitton in the driveway and she dove for a birdie and fell, fracturing her wrist. She couldn't drive, I wasn't old enough, but there was no one else around and certainly one did not summon an ambulance for anything less than shotgun wounds. I drove downtown, scared witless, with Grandma calmly and quietly talking me thru every move. Another summer as we lay in the WWII surplus hammocks strung all over her yard, she suddenly sat up and said - "SUZY! Let's go for a ride!" I happily piled into the car with her. "Where are we going, Grandma?" "We're going to Bishop, and have lunch" Oh goody goody, I loved Bishop, this was going to be Adventure! Only thing was, Bishop was about 750 miles away. I didn't realise it, but when we stopped for a potty break and she told me to call my Mama, I blabbed and we were asked to turn around and go home. Phooey - Mamas are no fun!

Grandma and I spoke on the phone every Saturday morning at 7 am, for probably 25 or 30 years, until she forgot me. To this day I am unconsciously near a phone at 7 am on Saturdays. When in later years I was packing her 8,427 books prepatory for a move, she scared the crap out of me when she came up behind me with a loaded revolver - "Suzy, I just don't know how to turn this off" When I got done being scared, and having safely secured the gun away from her, I went looking for Mama and bawled my eyes out. In the late years, although she was a lifelong teetotaller, she inexplicably took a fondness to Irish Creame Whiskey, and sent me off to buy it. Buying whiskey in Utah is no easy feat, mind you. The little pink state liquor store in that teeny town was open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Maybe. Sometimes it might be Mondays and Saturdays, you never knew. Eventually I got the stuff, and nothing would do but I had to gag down a drink with her every evening. She slammed it straight, I cut it with as much water as I thought I could get away with, and had it on the rocks to boot. I could nurse that one little glass of buzzard barf for hours, while Grandma shot back 4 or 5. Amazing, and she never seemed the least bit lit.

Grandma taught me "You CAN, but you MAY not" "Stand straight and tall and be proud" "You shan't raise your voice" " You never stop learning" "You dasn't dare refute your Mama" and "I love you, Sugar"

I love you too, Grandma.

13 comments:

Kelly said...

What a gorgeous story! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

Pam said...

What wonderful memories...and fun memories...and sad memories...and undoubtedly many more memories not shared but treasured deep in your heart.

I lost my gma to Alzheimer's as well, years before she was gone from this earth. The pain never goes away. For years before her death she thought I was my aunt, whom she had been estranged from for most of my aunts adult life. My gma lived with us and she hated me (aka my aunt) for "running around with" Pam's (aka ME!!) husband...she knew my husband and children, but didn't know me!

Memories...good and not so good ~ no one can take them away from us and over time even the harsh ones soften and become sweet.

Thanks for sharing your memories, your gma sounds like a wonderfully fun lady for a little girl to look up to!

Pam@
www.pamgwillim.com

Sharon said...

What a great story about your grandma. I think it's great that we are telling stories about our grandmas.
My mother in law is 89 and she too has Alzheimers. It's a sad disease. It kills my husband everytime he goes to visit and she doesn't know him.
Thanks for sharing.

Sharon said...

I have to tell you my grandma told me to stand up straight too. LOL

Angela said...

Aaaaaaahhhh made me miss my mamaw even more reading about yours.

Leigh said...

What a lovely post Su. I'm glad your grandma was such special person in your life. Mine was THE most special person in my life while I was growing up. I still miss her.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

That is a tender tribute, I miss my "Nannie" too.

Angie said...

What a precious story about you and your Grandma. Such sweet memories...such sad memories...such treasured memories.

Bren said...

What a beautiful story. I too have tears and am remembering my own Grandma.

Kim said...

What great memories you have of your time with your grandma! Thanks for sharing!

Quilting Journey said...

You've moved me to tears, again...Miss Sue Bee. A beautiful and touching tribute to an unbelievably amazing woman. That's the kind of grandma that I want to be some day...and you, were, and are, a phenomenal grandaughter!

Rosy said...

Thanks for sharing your Gma w/us! Such sweet memories!

Marcie said...

I loved reading your tribute. I always thought my grama was the most wonderful person on earth. I think I would have liked yours also!