This past Sunday our family was able to say their final goodbyes to one amazing woman. The matriarch of our family lost her battle with throat cancer. It has been a very hard journey to say the least. Watching a woman who loved her husband, mother, children, grandchildren and family will all of her heart. Not a selfish bone in her body.
Here is a prime example of what I am trying to say. When Sara was just 5 years old, we went to Grandma’s so they could give her the presents they bought. We brought her best friend Kelly to celebrate with us.
Sara’s grandparents bought her favorite toys….baby dolls. When Sara and Kelly started playing babies……it was Grandma that gave one of the babies to Kelly. She could keep it. Then she just took Kelly in as if she was one of her own grandchildren.
Going to Grandma’s was the best time. From the moment you walk into the house, being greeted with hugs at the door. When you walk in the scent of vanilla permeates the house. Grandma always burnt vanilla candles at the kitchen table. “What would you like to drink?” would be the first thing asked after the hugs.You could open the refrigerator door to find cokes, grape or orange soda, root beer and yoohoo’s. Then the words “come in sit down”. Grandma would always sit in the chair far left next to the microwave stand facing the living room so she could see the television when she was not busy either cleaning, ironing or cooking.
A typical family visit would include us going over, having a pickle platter for snack while the main meal was being cooked. “What’s a pickle platter?” you ask. Well it’s a relish tray with baby dill pickles, sweet gherkin pickles, black olives, green olives, sliced block of cheddar cheese and club crackers. Everyone would grab a small plate, take a little of everything then sit down. Most of the time it was on the back porch. That’s where Grandma would play cards with the grandbabies. That’s where she would catch Sara trying to deal from the bottom of the deck to showing the younger boys how to play war or go fish. Most of the time Grandpa would be taking home videos or photos. He would then retire to his recliner in the living room to watch the Nascar race of the week, until dinner was ready. Preparations for the meal would begin approximately 20 minutes prior. From setting up the folding picnic table to getting the plastic plates, silverware, and napkins. Then the food would be placed on the table, counter and stove to serve from. The parents were asked to make the plates for the children.
Grandma made sure she had her yams and potato salad at every meal. Sara loved her potato salad and the boys especially Chris loved her yams. Grandpa would put leftovers in containers for us to take home. There would be enough for lunch the next day except the yams. Chris would eat those for snack before bed that night. Grandma knew for sure that they really loved her cooking.
Most of the time with the children they would be given a spill-proof sippy cup for their drinks. It was such a tradition for these cups, even when we would go over to just visit for a few minutes the kids always asked for a sippy cup. I know it was because of the feeling you get when Grandma would make such a big deal over you. She treated all of her grandchildren the same. not a one was treated any different.
After the food was put away, dishwasher loaded then the napping began. Gene would stretch out on the floor in front of the television with one of the boys and fall asleep. I would sit on the love seat to watch the race with Grandpa, but most of the time I would nod off to sleep. You just can’t help it. The feeling of being in a very relaxed, loving home is just so very calming and peaceful. It is always this way when you come over.
Grandpa and Grandma would always go out of their way for anyone. If you called and made plans to come over they would put their plans on hold (as long as it was not a dr’s appt.) and made sure they would be there when you came. Grandma would also cook dinner if you were coming for dinner. They treated all the children and grandchildren the same with all their love.
I want my home to be the same way….unconditional love always and forever.