Grandma's House

Some of my fondest memories are the times spent at my Grandma’s house. My grandparents lived in an old farmhouse within walking distance of where I grew up. During school, my sister and I would spend Saturdays there and during the summer months, we were there on a daily basis.

It was a place where you could go and forget about your problems.  Grandma would always greet me with a hug and kiss, and then plop me down in front of the old black and white television set or send me out to find Grandpa. He was usually too busy with farm chores to watch over me, but sometimes I got to help him with his black Angus cows. I would feed the calves, drag the water hose to the trough, or just hang out with him.

But most of the time was spent with Grandma. She would fix lunch with Grandpa in mind, usually meat fried in lard, potatoes, and a vegetable, and there would always be an orange-flavored drink. Grandpa loved oranges! It wasn’t a very healthy meal, but when I was growing up the emphasis on eating healthy wasn’t as pronounced as it is today. It seemed back then there weren’t as many food preservatives used and the food was better than it is today.

I can remember during the spring and summer sitting on the back porch step and watching her white kittens romping through her irises. She had innumerable white, short-haired cats so there was always an abundance of kittens. I would sit there and laugh at their antics as they would pounce, chew on each other, and then race off through the flowers.

She raised white leghorn chickens and sold the eggs. Sometimes I would go with her to the hen house and help gather the eggs. For some reason,I can remember being intimidated by the hens. It seems that every time I would try to reach under a hen it would peck my hand. I remember getting aggravated with them and would throw corn cobs to get them to leave their nest. All it accomplished was to fill the nest with corn cobs and break a few eggs! I will never forget the Sunday that my grandparents came home from church and discovered that someone had stolen all of her chickens. Financially it was devastating! Heartbroken, she cried most of the day. I can still see her, in my mind, with tears in her eyes.

Every day was ice cream day at Grandma’s. All she ever bought was vanilla, but she always kept a can of chocolate syrup handy.  She would go to the chest freezer and dip my sister and me a bowl full. I would generously douse it with the syrup and then take my spoon and stir it until it had the consistency of chocolate, soft-serve ice cream. It was wonderful and usually one of the day’s highlights.

Christmas was always special at Grandma’s. When I was a child I would count the days, hours, and minutes until that special morning. My grandparents would always load us down with stuff. I can still picture her aluminum tree with the revolving light in her front room. The presents would be piled high and my sister and I couldn’t wait to dive in. I also remember the room that we, from Thanksgiving on, weren’t allowed to enter. The temptation was always there, but devastating threats were always in order. I doubt that they would have been carried through but when you were at that age you didn’t dare take any chances. I also remember the Christmas morning when Grandma slipped and fell, on an icy back porch step, and broke her wrist. I remember the disappointment of having to postpone opening our presents because of it. I am ashamed of myself as I think of how self-centered I was. Instead of being concerned about her injury I was selfish and was only concerned about having to wait. But I was a child and only had one thought in mind.

Grandma and Grandpa worked all of their life and they never had much to show for their efforts. By today’s standards, they were rather poor. But they had a roof over their head and food on the table. If they ever had a new car I don’t remember it, but I could be mistaken. Grandpa could be seen working in the bean fields pulling weeds by hand and Grandma was always busy doing laundry, cooking, plucking chicken,s or weeding her flower beds. From my house, I would look over the bean field and see her or at least part of her sticking up in the air as she bent to pull weeds. Nowadays you see plywood cutouts sold that are cut and painted to look like a person doing exactly what Grandma used to do.

I have so many fond memories that I can’t possibly list them all and I’m sure that I have left out some great ones. But there is one thing I will always dwell on, how Grandma and God were so alike in certain areas. Grandma loved me with all of her heart and I was the apple of her eye. Even when as a little boy I am told that I never missed hitting her with the green, fallen apples from the front yard tree, she still loved me. In her eyes, I could do no wrong. She loved me with unconditional love just as God does. Even when I fail him he still loves me with a love that I can’t begin to totally understand.

I guess God puts Grandmas on earth to be a living example of what He is so that they can gently guide us and direct our path in the right direction. Grandma has gone on to her reward but I can still picture her in my mind, sitting in her gray, overstuffed chair, reading her Bible and praying for me. It humbles me to think about her and what she was in my life. I have to believe that when she met God face to face He said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. I gave you grandchildren to nurture and you were exactly what I needed you to be. Again, I say well done.”

July 27, 2020