So many good memories I have of Grandma place her in the kitchen. I picture her standing at the counter stirring saccharine tablets into her tea with a long spoon and slightly shaking hands. I picture her sitting around the table with “the cousins” playing Hand and Foot or Skipbo. I picture her using the special card shuffler, because heaven forbid you shuffle by hand. I picture countless lasagnas coming out of the oven because her lasagnas were my favorite – only to be surpassed by those chocolate caramel brownies that she was famous for. Seriously, they were The. Best. No one ever made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich taste quite as good as Ma’s. Pretty much anything that came out of her kitchen was hard to beat.
Before she retired, Grandma worked for a nursing home. I used to love hearing her stories of belligerent patients and how she handled them. She had a kind and gentle spirit – but everyone knew not to cross her. We had a saying in our family: “Pa is boss, as everyone knows; But what Ma says, always goes.” Oh, how I miss their playful (and sometimes not-so-playful) bickering.
People have always told me I favored Grandma. I like to think that she rubbed off on me in other ways as well. She was a voracious reader and I loved our trips to the library. It was always a novelty to me to drive past the red brick roads of Tyler – they didn’t have red brick roads where I lived. She also loved taking and looking at pictures. Every time we came to visit she’d have me pull out a photo album to look through its latest additions. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a few albums of my own.
My mom has always said that Grandma was the best mother-in-law. How many people do you know that say that about mother’s-in-law? She treated my mom like another daughter. She never interfered, but was always ready to share her wisdom if asked. As a mother of teenagers, that’s a trait that for myself still needs some fine-tuning.
Almost exactly two years ago, I stood reading a similar eulogy for Pa. To be honest with you, we lost both my grandparents that year, as Grandma was just never quite the same without him. But that’s how I would choose to remember them anyway – sitting in their his-and-her chairs in their pristine living room on Oxford Cr, him fussing about something trivial and her lovingly telling him to shut up and mind his own business. They leave a great legacy, these two. They may no longer be with us in body, but they will live indefinitely in the hearts of those of us who loved them.