A Grandmother’s love

My cousin is putting together a book documenting the history of my Grandparents, and asked the Grandkids to share a few of our fond memories.  Sadly, I didn’t know my Grandfather as he had passed away before I was born, but I have been blessed with many fond memories of time spent with my Grandmother.  The difficulty for me lies in choosing which memories to share.

The first thing that came to my mind was my G’s cooking, and all the family meals shared with my extended family.  The dinner table was always filled with lots of choices; roasted meats, creamed corn or peas, mashed potatoes, tiny squares of cheddar and mozzarella, a tub of cook cheese (or snot cheese as Hubby likes to refer to it as), fresh rolls and the guaranteed presence of a bowl of red, green or orange jelly salad usually formed with fruit and marshmallows. 

And for dessert?  Being raised in a Mennonite family meant there was usually a pie or two, cookies, squares, and a fruit bowl from one of the many homemade cans of fruit from my G’s cellar.  After dinner the family would lounge around with our full bellies, many of us complaining about how hot it was in her living room before dozing off to sleep until my G would bring out the board games and cards.  And then, to my ear’s delight, I would hear the ice clinking in glasses that meant a tray of pop was on its way, which my G would always walk around and serve us.  Then out came the After Eights, candies, licorice and chips.

My G could cook like nobody’s business, and doing it for our large family gatherings didn’t seem to faze her.  But whenever you tried to compliment her cooking, her cackled response was always “Oh, for Heaaahven’s sakes.  You don’t like my cookin’!” 

I loved her cooking, and over the years I would call G up in the middle of the week and invite myself over for one of her delicious meals as Hubby was often away on business travel.  Not only would she feed my belly, but also my soul with her after dinner life stories.  I could listen endlessly about how her life, and always dreaded when it was time to leave.  I am convinced that G’s meals hugely influenced my love of food today.

My G was always kind to me, and only once can I recall a time she actually raised her voice to me (but I deserved it!).  I think I was 11 years old at the time and was spending the night.  I went to take a shower and left the curtain outside of the tub.  Apparently my G didn’t appreciate have her entire bathroom floor filled with water, and I suspect it was seeping through the crack of the closed door as she was hollering at me about the mess I made while I was still showering.  But, after the bathroom was wiped dry, nothing more was said about it, and I was still treated to a pre-bedtime bowl of cereal, a pop, and an episode of Love Boat on the television (a show that was banned by my father in my house). 

I am also grateful, at the age of 38, to still have my G alive at the age of 94.  But she is a young 94 with a sharp mind, and a kind heart by volunteering daily at the home where she lives. And, she still cheats at cards!  She can also still share her memories, and even though an ocean separates us, I am fortunate to receive her current events and memories in hand-written letters that I deeply cherish.

My Grandmother never remarried and spent many of her years living alone.  She worked, and maintained a house along with a beautiful flower bed and bountiful vegetable garden.  She never wore pants and kept her hair tied up neatly in a bun.  I remember the first time seeing it let down one night before bed – it reached her waist!  Along with having her teeth out, I remember being a little frightened!  But she gave me one of her happy laughs that quickly comforted me.

And, she didn’t complain about her life (at least not to me anyway) but instead held strong values about the importance in appreciating what you have and not being wasteful.  My G taught me independence, resilience, laughter, fun, and most of all… love.

She truly is Grand.

2 thoughts on “A Grandmother’s love

  1. Too true… She is the best! Happy Birthday Grandma!! Can’t wait to see her at the Mennonite Relief sale and share in some good old mennonite cooking;)


  2. Heather, you have done a wonderful job of summarizing some of the comments I would have shared with Susan-thank you!
    My other memory is of the small cupboard in her kitchen where she kept the tray with the jams for when you had toast in the morning. She always brought out the tray and having something simple like toast always seemed so special when it was with her. When she was moving, I asked to have that tray with its’ faded paint that you can hardly distinguish the picture on it and it would probably be passed over at the thrift shop, but to me, this tray warms my heart everytime I look at it. Thanks Grandma!


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