We just celebrated Mother's Day last weekend, and it made me think of my sweet Grandma Vivian. Oh my, how I loved that lady! I so wish that Dave had been able to meet her before the Lord called her home years ago.
They say that our sense of smell is one of our most powerful triggers for memories, and I can definitely tell when it comes to her. Every time I cook sausage I think of her. I remember sleeping in the playroom on the pull out couch and waking up to the smell and sound of sausage and liver mush cooking. Grandma loved to feed people. You would show up for a visit (she lived 3.5 hours from us) and would hardly be through the door before she'd be asking you what you wanted to eat. I loved eating breakfast at her table with her while she drank her coffee.
She always made spaghetti when I was there, and baked beans and coleslaw cause those were my favorites. She'd sit the food down and say, "If it ain't fit to eat we'll throw it out!", even though her cooking was so darn good. She had a red chair I always sat in, and another special chair that my cousin Jennifer sat in (I think we felt very special because we girls were the only ones with different chairs). Grandma always had Hershey's miniatures in a jar in the kitchen and peppermint sticks in a drawer.
My cousin Jennifer lived next door and was my age and we spent countless hours together at Grandma's playing. We would take all the dish towels from Grandma's kitchen drawer and use them for sheets and blankets in our doll hospital, pouring over Grandma's copy of Nurse Nancy and sometimes letting our brothers play. Grandma would grate up cheddar cheese for us and stick it in plastic tubs for us to take outside and eat. To this day, I cannot eat grated cheese without thinking of her.
We would spend hours in the trails my Uncle Tim made for her out behind her house, hiding in thickets and pretending it was our own Secret Garden full of fairies and sprites. Our dads took us tubing in the river not far from her house, and one of my favorite summer memories is catching lightning bugs in jars in Grandma's yard.
I loved the damp, old smell of her basement and all the treasures we kids would find down there amidst old quilts and every issue of National Geographic stacked on shelves. I loved that Grandma always smelled of Jergen's body lotion. She took time each day to watch her "stories" and loved "Gone with the Wind." I can still remember the feel of the old couch she used to have, and hear the sound of her screen door swinging shut.
Grandma was feisty and a woman who knew that loving people meant action (oh glory, I think that's why I loved her so!). She did so many things for her grandchildren. She called friends to get fabric scraps for me and Jen and our craft obsession. She took us to get peach ice cream at the peach orchard. I got her a hat when she started losing her hair from chemo and she wore it all the time, a gesture that meant so much to me. She was one of the sweetest and gentlest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing; the type of person who would give you every shirt in her closet and then the one off of her back, too, without a second thought.
She kept leftovers in old Cool Whip containers (I have a stack of hers in my house because they remind me so much of her). She was an incredibly skilled quilter. I will snuggle my babies with the quilt she made for me some day and tell them about their Great-Grandma Vivian.
I will tell them how she was a fighter and how I hate talking on the phone just like she did. I will tell them stories of sitting in her living room listening to my dad and Uncle Tim tell stories and crack each other up. I'll read them Nurse Nancy and watch The Secret Garden a million times like Jen and I did. I'll make sausage and breathe in that smell and it will make me miss my grandma so terribly, and I'll wish she were here to see my babies grow up. I like to think of her watching from heaven, beaming down at us all and poking angels in the ribs, saying, "Look there; that's my grandkid."
Oh, I love that lady!