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Lessons From Grandma

Today would have been my grandma’s 110th birthday if she were still living and even though she is gone she is still teaching me about life through how she lived her life.

1. Family is important. She was a mother of nine children and was the least stressed person that I know. She loved being surrounded by the ones she loved.

2. Nothing beats a home cooked meal especially when it includes home-made bread. She baked homemade bread almost daily when her family was young and then weekly. The meal was always eaten at the table not in front of the television. It was always the kids job to set the table properly and it was where we learned good table manners

3. Go with the flow. Whatever life sends your way make the most of it. She was widowed at the age of 59 and lived into her 90’s. I never heard a pity party come from her mouth.

4. Focus on what is truly important and don’t let the other stuff bother you. Once while talking to one of her daughters on the phone she kept talking while a bat circled her head. She just continued talking and took a swat at the bat every so often as it circled. She wasn’t going to let a small thing like a bat interrupt her time with her daughter who lived out-of-state.

5. Make time for play. Grandma loved to play cards. It was a big deal when you were old enough as a grandchild to join in with the adults playing cards. Oh the stories that were told around the table were some of the best first person history lessons.

6. Make time to laugh. Grandma loved a good story. I can still picture her with tears running down her face from laughter.

7. Make gifts personal. I still have a small cookbook that my grandma hand wrote her favorite recipes. Over the years she made several homemade gifts for each grandchild. I have a large granny square afghan that she crocheted for me, hand embroidered kitchen towel, one for each day of the week, and hand embroidered pillow cases for my bed.

8. Love those around you. When her children were young and her neighbor was quarantined because of some childhood disease in their neighborhood. Grandma would sneak over to her friend’s home to spend time helping her care for her children who were sick. Grandma was always willing to share. If she knew someone needed something, she was always ready to share.

9. Faith is important. Grandma always went to church and encouraged others to go as well. Her bible was always handy.

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I’m Getting the Itch..

Last evening I was cleaning up the kitchen and opened the drawer that holds my leftover seeds from last year’s garden.

I pulled them out and started looking at the different envelopes. The watermelon looked delicious and the package of snap peas made me long for the days of standing in the garden, picking a snap pea and eating it where I stood.

When I think of gardening one person comes to mind, my husband’s grandma. She loved gardening. When Grandma was living gardening was her whole life. She was legally blind from macular degeneration and a widow since 1961. Her hands and feet were twisted from arthritis but she loved to garden.

 She would plan out her garden on pieces of paper. Her writing because of her poor eyesight was large and childlike printing. Each year she would pull out her plans from the last year and plan where she would plant this year’s crop. She would decide what seeds she needed to order and my mother-in-law would help her order. In the later years the garden became more of a joint project. I can still see her handwriting on paper if I close my eyes.

She would spend hours crawling on her hands and knees tending to her garden. This was no small garden but measured about 20′ by 30′. Each year there was always talk of making it a little smaller but it hasn’t happened yet. My husband said that he had his taste first salsa in his grandma’s kitchen long before it ever hit the grocery store shelves. She made her own in her little kitchen with ingredients fresh from her garden.

She was born in 1899 and live to be 90 years old. She worked in her garden until two years before her death she had a stroke and could no longer work the garden. She lived a frugal life. She lived in a small log cabin with a couple of additions on it. She ate what she raised in her garden with a few other items from the grocery store. After her stroke she longer to sit in a chair next to the garden with her sun hat on while my mother-in-law continued their tradition of gardening.

Last evening I found the above photo that I took in my garden of the bee on the sunflower and it brought back the memories of the warm days of summer wandering around in Grandma’s garden to check out the progress of everything growing.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Family, gardening, Nature, Reflections

 

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