|Grandma & Auntie|
Recently I traveled across the country to Spokane, Washington to visit my 93 year-old grandmother. She is doing pretty well, all things considered. Even though I have lived in Iowa for over 20 years, I miss being able to see her regularly.
I am so thankful that she passed on to me:
- A deep love for creation: camping, gardening, just walking in the woods where she grew up. She took the trouble to learn the names of butterflies, trees, flowers. She made sure everyone in the family always picked up ALL litter rather than leaving it.
- Pie-baking lessons: When I was 9, she announced it was time for me to learn to bake a pie. We made huckleberry and my uncle ate most of it. Homemade pie--chocolate cream, lemon meringue, fruit of any kind--the best comfort food around. And getting messy in the kitchen is no big deal.
- A love of the arts: She is always reading at least 3 or 4 books.When she retired from teaching at 58, she took piano lessons AGAIN for 30 years--her own teachers kept retiring! She was quite good and played in the student recitals for years. She bought both my flutes and took me to all kinds of concerts. Travel always included a stop at a local museum. (In college I majored in music and English so this stuff must have stuck.) Arts for their own sake is good enough--they need no "practical" purpose.
- A curious attitude. Learn all you can, do all you can. She was the grandmother who took me and my friends swimming, skating, hiking, museuming and always joined in, too. She volunteered for the museum, music events and political organizations into her 80s as well. She went camping on her own until she was about 85, pulling a little pop-up trailer behind her pick-up.
- A firm conviction that everyone matters. While no one would exactly call her nurturing, she respected all kinds of people. We nearly always had a guest at Thanksgiving or Christmas--often someone so totally different from us. I now have her red coat with the button that reads "Every mother is a working mother" even though she was never a stay-at-home mom. She firmly believes all are created equal.