Wednesday, June 21, 2006

my grandmothers

last night i got an email from timm that his grandmother had passed away. if you think of it remember the cash family. reading his email and all the wonderful things he said about his grandmother got me thinking about my grandmothers. i was blessed with three grannies growing up. each were vastly different in personality types and interest and jobs and such. its fun to look back on the time i spent with each of them and the experiences we shared. i can see the influence in my life that each of them had.
Granny Stoner is the one who taught me how to believe in God. she never preached to me or told me bible stories over the phone or forced me to church with her, but rather she simply lived out her faith in a real way. She and my grandfather had three sons together. And together they buried each one of them. 2 had cystic fibrosis and my father had cancer of everything. by the time my father passed away (he was the last of the three) i was 15 and old enough to understand in some small way how she managed to keep on living in spite of the horrors her life had dealt. Thats not to say her life didnt deal her some immense joys. but i look at my babies and cant imagine the pain of not having them around. let alone feeling that three times over. granny never complained or questioned. at least not that i ever heard. she hurt and my brother and i were privvy to it. but she never threw these losses at God and pushed her anger around. she is the person i remember when i question my faith and become angry at God. i also remember her gentleness and she always was the picture of perfection in my mind. the stoners house was always open and full of neighborhood kids. and of course she always had something tasty in the oven. when the family needed cash, she took on a job at a pharmacy. the woman never knew what it meant to be lazy. she had a heart of gold and genuinely cared about people. i'd like to be more like her, but she would just laugh and say that she was just an old granny. despite the hurt she endured throughout life she always had something to laugh about.
Grandma Knight is where i learned respect. grandma really loves music. any time i visit i have to sit down and play for her...didnt matter if i hadnt practiced anything, she just wanted to hear me play. i always did this with a certain amount of grudgery. what kid wants to sit down and play camptown races for their grandma when its a perfectly good day to get into the mud puddle you could find beneath the rain spout. one day i was mumbling something about not wanting to play a song and why do i have to, etc, etc...grumble grumble. and she just said "because i'm your grandmother and i want to hear your beautiful songs." later on when i went off to school and actually had really interesting things to play i told her when i'd be coming for a visit and before she could tell me to bring something to play i asked her to get some friends together and i'd give a mini recital. she was so excited. she packed in as many as she could which was slightly embarassing, but shes my grandma and she wants to hear my songs. so you play. now i still kind of grumble but more in a good way whenever she asks me to play. mostly its because i keep thinking that she'll forget to ask. and she came to my house a few weeks back and it never occurred to me that i'd play for her, but i do have the family steinway (its an upright) so i played. it sucked, because i hadnt practiced, but she was ever the captive audience.
Granny Call is the granny from my little known things about me post. She was a pilot in WWII. i learned how to appreciate life for all it can be from granny call. as a wife of a high ranking military officer she often entertained many important people from all over the world. this is where she got her cooking philosophy and where i got my eating philosophy. janet dailey wrote a book about the experiences of the WASPs of WWII and relied heavily on my grandmothers recollections for information to use in her story. the book (silver wings santiago blue) in dedicated to my grandmother. when i was old enough to read the book i asked which character she was but she never said. i think the author put a little bit of granny in all of the main characters. its a janet dailey book so take it for what its worth, but i can see peices of granny in there. she often said things like 'people who eat spicy food lead spicy lives' and when my dad was caught by a neighbor playing in the street she said 'well, we lose a few from time to time that way...but it sure is fun making new ones' granny was the lady to take the proverbial bull by the horns. she did not approach life delicately and tried just about everything she decided she wanted to try. and the things she held dear she held them very closely. she loved fiercely. and she never bothered with the things in life that just didnt matter. though she had a bit of early road rage...i remember her yelling out the window to the car in front of her 'whats the matter?! you afraid to die?!!" when i get too bogged down with all the little things that mean nothing at all i think of granny call. what a legacy these three ladies have passed on to me and my family.

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