In the chaos of the morning, trying to warm up my car, and bracing the burning cold…I got to Midas and spoke with a mechanic about getting an oil change. And in the process I found out something is wrong with my radiator. And numerous other little things here and there. I’m at Midas trying to wrap my brain around the costs and benefits of spending my entire paycheck on my repairs. And then I remember, I need to call my grandmother back. She had called me and sent me a text asking me to call when I could. So now, would be a perfect time. I was stressed and needed to hear an ecouraging voice.
I tell her about all my problems. But they all sound so insignificant now as I repeat them over and over in my head.
“Grandma died last night.”
My great grandma. My grandma’s mother. My fathers grandma. She’s gone. She was 7 years shy of a Century old…and yet I couldn’t help but weep outside the Midas Shop where I’m sure every mechanic could hear me. I didn’t care. My great grandma Betty is no longer living.
My memory flashed back to the last week I spent with her over the last summer. We spent Memorial Day weekend breathing in the simple things of life. Watching the new baby geese creep up to steal some bread crumbs I happily through on their path. And she was so captivated by the little geese. They were adorable. She was so frail. But her mind was still as sharp as a knife. She was witty and smart. She was up to date with politics. And she loved her NBA boys and Tiger Woods. She smiled for as long as she could. And she really cared to hear about all her family and friends lives. She was genuinely interested.
And the stories. Oh the stories. Sometimes I would ask her to tell me about her past, and sometimes they would just come in waves and I’d listen until she was ready for a nap. She was so full of life and she lived many many years. If there was ever a time for somebody to go home, now was the time.
She once told me how she had to share one pair of shoes with her mother during the Great Depression. And how she rode her horse to school for miles every morning in the bitter cold. And she humbled me. She left this world wealthy but she didn’t start life that way. She built her life and she’s an inspiration to me. She earned everything she ever had. And she was such a dignified lady.
Whenever I entered her home she would always tell me to make myself at home by offering whatever was in the fridge. And tell me try some yummy treat she had available at the time. She loved her Pepsi. And I remember buying baby cans of Pepsi one time, and I put the baby can into a glass and it only filled it half way, and I thought that was plenty for her. But she said ” That’s it?” And we laughed and I used another can to fill the glass, and I should have just bought the regular cans.
I remember the time we were at a local bakery and we had sat down to eat out lunch, that she had payed for, and she placed her hand in mine to tell me that she was so proud of me. And as she slid her hand back into her lap, a 100 dollar bill laid folded in my hand and she raised her eyebrows, as if to tell me to put it somewhere safe, and that I earned it.
I’m going to miss her kisses on the lips, like grandmas do.
And he voice that spoke louder than the rest, because she was hard of hearing.
And the trips to nowhere in her car as we drove around town admiring yet again the simple things about life.
I will remember the time she came to my graduation. And she looked so beautiful and got all dressed up for it. Even though I’m sure it took her all morning. And she hated getting up early.
And the time we went to Montana, just because, and we stopped at a little diner outside of Helena, MT. next to this crappy motel we had to stay in…and there was this really cute waiter who took our order. And the second he left my great grandma said in her loud voice…”he’s so cute, what do you think Sam?” I absolutely died, because the waiter was no more than 10 steps away and I just laughed of embarrassment, and thought, only old grandmas can say those things and get away with it 😉
I remember when we were at KFC ordering out food through the drive thru and we got this awesome deal, that was really simple to me, and KFC as usual but to great grandma Betty, it was a royal treat, drink and all included. She was so surprised. And she ate that meal like it was her last. And we even ate it on nice plates with silver wear on a set table…because she was classy like that 😉
i remember how she knew I liked coffee so she offered me some of her Insta-Foldgers coffee that didnt really taste, but it was nice that she offered, instead of tell me not to drink it.
She would always tell me how good I looked, as if I was going to Prom. And on my 16th birthday she wrapped her beautiful handkerchiefs and purse she took to her Prom and gave them to me for my Prom. I used the purse. I didn’t really know what to do with the handkerchiefs. But I still have them. To remember her.
I remember we would talk about “the gays” and she agreed that they should be able to marry who they wanted. And I was so proud of her for taking time to discuss such controversial topics with me and listen to my sides. We could talk for hours.
I remember how much she loved my mother. And they stayed in touch even after my parents divorced. And her love for my mother projected onto me. And I was so thankful for that much love coming from such a tiny lady.
And I remember her last birthday when we went to her favorite restaurant, JohnnyCarinos, and we ordered, and she ended up liking my meal better than hers. And she got all dolled up to go out. But while putting her clothes on she asked if it was wrong that she put her garments over her bra, instead of under like the LDSchurch requests, and my grandma and I thought that God would understand with old age. She didn’t want to deal with the fuss.
And there was the time my grandma and I were getting great gma Betty up her ramp into her house and she fell out of her chair. And she scraped up her back. And if I hadn’t been there they would have had to call 911, so they were both thankful I could lift her and get her back into her chair. I was thankful I was there too. Because my great gma liked the comfort of her own home, and family and friends she knew. Not strangers who didn’t know her. We talked about her going to a nursing home, and she just wanted to stay home for as long as she could. And I understood.
And last summer she wanted to go to a family reunion back east, but couldn’t go alone, and weighed her options to go with her daughter, my grandma, but that wouldn’t be enough. And it was during a time I would be working. But she wanted me to go with her. And I felt bad. But I felt good at the same time. Because she wanted me there.
And there was a time when I didn’t know her, because our families were at odds, and she called my mom and asked to speak with me. I was like 9 or so. And I said Hello, and she said. I love you. And she wanted to tell me that she got the school pictures my mother sent her and that I looked so beautiful with my dark hair. And I looked so much like my Aunt Brittany. And that phone call didn’t mean much to me. I didn’t even know her. But now. Now I hold it dear to my heart. I know she loved me.
And she kept every photo she ever got of me. And she’d display the photos. And always let me into her room to look at all her pretty things.
And there was a time when she pretty much discovered a White a Cheddar Popcorn and so she had me specially go to the store to find it, and it took me forever, but I came back with a couple bags, and we opened it, and there was more air than popcorn, and I knew we were gonna need more, knowing her 😉 And whenever she wanted a snack she would tell me, “When you get my age, Sam, you can eat whatever you want.” And I laughed so hard. She loved her lays chips and Pepsi. 😉
And while so many others would normally want to go hang out with their friends and party, I was simply content in reading a book at grandma Betty’s house tucked under the silk blankets and afghans she made. And she even made me one for graduation. And she would send cards and always sign her name with the familiar fancy cursive I could barely read.
And one year at Christmas she gave all the grand kids and great grand kids cards that said, “this year we will give our money and toys to all the girls and boys who don’t have anything” and while I noticed some grand kids a little disappointed, or confused with her message…I thanked her. Once again, making me humble.
And in any card she gave out for special occasions I would find a few $2 bills and I always got super excited because I thought they were so cool. And I could always count on it being there.
And I loved the way she talked about her late husband, Clark, who she adored. And she had his wood carvings displayed all over her house, and I could always feel him there when she would speak so beautifully of him. She helped me know him more.
She was so beautiful, and kind, and generous, and sincere, and I loved every minute we spent together. I love you great grandma Betty. Finally you can rest tonight.