Friday, July 13, 2012

Grandma Juanita

On July 4th, my Grandma Juanita passed away.  As the passing of a loved one often does, this has made me stop and think a lot about her and the memories I have of her. It is hard to select just a few good memories of my grandma.  Since my grandma lived just three doors up the street from my for my entire childhood, I saw her nearly every day.  She was a fixture in my daily life, so there are few memories of important times in my life that she isn't a part of.  

The most prevalent quality I recall about my grandma is that she was a "motherer". She wanted to take care of everyone and make them happy.  The main way she showed this was food.  My cousins, brother and sister will understand exactly what I mean by this.  My grandma loved to feed us.  Upon arrival, we were offered a snack. If we declined, we were asked every 15 minutes or so if we were hungry until we ate.  She kept on hand what each one of us liked and if there was something she didn't have, you just had to ask and she was sure to have it when you visited next. Also, she always had cases of pop stashed in the closets (usually many of them as she loved a good sale and would stock up) and, since it was grandma's house, you could have as many as you wanted! 

And speaking of food, she was also one heck of a cook.  I remember many holiday meals where food just covered the kitchen counter tops.  There were countless containers of cookies, pies, fluff salads and brownies just to name a few. At Thanksgiving, us kids always got our own little pumpkin pie baked in a pot pie tin.  One year during clean up, I recall my sister being amazed by the size of the turkey bones.  My grandma told her they were elephant bones and promptly popped them in the oven to dry them so that my sister could take them to school for show and tell.  My grandma also used to make delicious Sunday lunches.  My typical Sunday afternoon started upon my return from church. I would go to grandma's and watch the Bears play football with my grandpa while grandma cooked lunch for us. 

Grandma also made tons of homemade goodies. Homemade noodles, all kinds of canned goods and every year, she, my mom and my aunt would cut and freeze bag after bag of sweet corn. I recall gathering at grandma's and sneaking bites of the sweet corn while they were bagging it.  My cousins and I always ate it until we had a stomach ache and were sticky from head to toe with sweet corn.  Grandma was also a pretty good seamstress. She could always be counted on to fix a seam or patch a hole in our jeans. She tried to show me how to sew on her sewing machine a few times. I wish now I had paid closer attention!

I also spent many nights sleeping over at her house.  On many occasions, I would be woken up at the wee hours of the morning and drug off to have breakfast.  I was allowed to stay up late, eat after dinner mint ice cream and watch horror movies. The last time I slept over at my grandma's was the night before my wedding.  Grandma's house was a place you could go to eat, play or watch t.v. And her house had air conditioning! Growing up we didn't have it in our home and we spent many hot afternoons soaking up grandma's a.c.

My grandma loved animals and one of our favorite things for many years was her rabbit, E.B.  Grandma loved dogs and cats and fed every stray animal that crossed her path.  She was a hard worker and always took pride in her flowers.  She was often found working in her yard.  Even when she was told to ease up on her activity, she was often out tedning to her flowers, cutting weeds or hanging precariously over the bluff at the back of her house to trim tree limbs.

Granmdma was also probably her grandkids' biggest cheerleader.  She always came to our school events (and drove my cousins and I to school each day for several years). She attended sports games, concerts, church programs and graduations.  You name it, she was there.  She was there for my wedding day and one of the first people to meet J when he was born.

There are so many more stories and memories that come to mind when I think of my Grandma.  I know how lucky I am to have each and every one of them. Although I am sad to have lost my grandma, I am so thankful to have had her in my life.  She was what every grandma should be.  Someone who spoils you. Someone who shares your secrets. Someone who lets you get away with murder and dotes on you and loves you no matter what.  I know I am who I am today because I had her in my life.  Rest in Peace, Grandma. 

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