Today would be my grandma’s 121st birthday. We lost her back in 1981, but still miss her and all the lessons she tried to teach us. When I was young, some of those lessons seemed silly and I thought I would never need to know those things.
Now I realize that each and every one of those lessons had something that we would need to know somewhere down the road of our life.
Some of those lessons included:
- Always say thank you when you receive a gift, no matter how large or small. Even if the gift is something you will never be able to use, you thank the person who gave it, because they took the time to think of you. Grandma believed written ‘thank you’ notes were important, especially if your gift came from someone living far away. That way, Grandma said, you knew that the gift had been received and not lost in the mail or stolen.
- Grandma, who tended to be a little superstitious at times, said you never give anyone a purse, wallet or change purse as a gift without putting at least a small coin in it. If you give an empty purse, it will always be empty, she said. If you put even a little bit of money in it before you give it as a gift, it will never be empty.
- Grandma always showed honor to ministers. My mom would tell me about the times the traveling minister would come to visit them when she was a little girl. Mom said that before the minister would leave, Grandma always made sure he had a bag of fresh vegetables from the garden or anything else she had to give.
- Grandma always knew how to make do with what she had. One of my fondest memories was from a day when several of Grandma’s children and their families were at the farm. My dad and uncles were busy putting a roof on the barn and we kids were running around doing nothing in particular. Well, Grandma was fixing us a supper of homemade sauerkraut, beans and I don’t remember what else. When the beans were cooked, she put them in a pan on the back porch to cool. Well, it was getting close to supper time and we kids found those beans. Being hungry, we each grabbed a few, then a few more and before we knew it, the pan was empty! When Grandma went out to get the pan of beans, all she could do was stand and stare at the empty pan. Did she punish us? Not that I remember. But I do know that she made do that night, and no one went away from the table hungry.
- Grandma was always a stickler for doing things right the first time. There were what seemed like hundreds of huckleberry bushes growing on the farm, and needless to say, when we went to Grandma’s in July and August, we were in the berry patch. It didn’t take too long for us to learn that we were to pick “clean” berries — no green ones, no leaves, no stems. If we took a cup of berries back to the house and the berries weren’t clean, Grandma’s disappointment wasn’t hidden.
We were blessed to grow up in a time when we could spend a day or a weekend or sometimes even a few days with Grandma and Grandpa on the farm. Sure, there was work to be done and lessons to be learned, but there was also plenty of time just to relax and make the memories that are still with us today.
Happy birthday, Grandma! We miss you.
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Thought for the week — When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.