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Life Lessons from my Grandma Ann

My grandma Ann passed away a few weeks ago. Her service was this afternoon, and as sad as it was, it was a wonderful chance to visit with family and friends I haven’t seen in many years. I think Grandma would have loved it. Each of her two children (my father and aunt) and all four of us grandchildren shared our favorite memories – it was a very joyful celebration.

This is what I shared…

I was given the middle name “Ann” after my grandma.

Couple that with the fact that I was her first grandchild, and there was a lot of potential for me to be “the favorite.”

But I’m sure Grandma was a bit disappointed to learn that I didn’t really care for many of her favorite things…pimento cheese, SPF 90 sunscreen, reading Bible scripture, polishing the silver, taking naps in the middle of a perfectly good afternoon…

Then again, we shared many of the same favorite things… old movies and Broadway musicals, cream cheese and olive sandwiches, going to the park, reading a good book, singing old church hymns. She even got me into knitting for a while.

But how could she pick a favorite grandchild anyway, just look at the old family photos– we were all so cute. And there is no shortage of photos, thanks to her.

Grandma’s house was home base for all of our little-kid shenanigans. It was the site of our imaginary bank, store, school, and airport. It was the stage for our gymnastics routines, fashion shows and toilet paper roll puppet plays. It was a warm and inviting place.

And by warm, I mean literally hot. Because she refused to turn the air conditioning on even in the summer. She just floated around the house with her shirt tied up around her waist and the windows open. But we were kids, we didn’t care.

The older I get, the more I realize how much like her I am becoming. Not in terms of air conditioning – I always have that on, but in other ways….

Like her desire to please others, her ability to make and keep friends for life, and her tendency to worry too much about her children.

I also got her inability to cook.

One night when my sister Ellen and I were staying over, Grandma made “Pork Loaf” for dinner. In my 8-year-old brain I thought, anything with the word “loaf” in it couldn’t be good. And I was right. It was horrible. But I choked down that loaf hoping to be eligible for membership in the “Clean Plate Club” and all of its associated benefits.

Grandma may not have been a chef, but there was always dessert.

I think it’s a good metaphor for life really. Sometimes we all have to get through a pork loaf or two, to get to the chocolate chip cookies.

Thank you Grandma for all you have taught me. I hope I make you proud every day.

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