MrZ’s Grandmother passed away yesterday. It was not unexpected but that doesn’t make the grief of his Mom and her siblings any less. In honor of her, I thought it would be a nice little tribute to share some of my favorite grandparent moments in honor of grandmas and grandpas worldwide. (None of mine are alive anymore.)
My paternal Grandfather (“Grandpa”) died in 2000. He was in his 90s and had lived a long and healthy life. When LilZ was little, Grandpa picked him up by putting a hand on each side of LilZ’s head, over the ear. I tried my best not to have a heart-attack watching him do it. My Dad told me later that no one stopped him because he evidently did it to us all when we were kids. It was like a tradition of sorts. I remember one summer when he was in his 80s, we went out to the fields with him to bale hay. He demonstrated by jumping off the trailer and grabbing a bale and throwing it back up on the trailer and riding to the next one. Remember – he was EIGHTY PLUS SOME and when I tried to do it? I nearly killed myself. There I was in my 20s and he was besting me, 60 years older. He always had a plate of white bread in front of him at dinner so he could use it to soak up whatever juices lingered on his plate. When I’m not dieting? I like to do the same thing. I read The Giving Tree at his funeral at the request of my family. It was an honor.
His wife, my “Grandma” died in 2002. She was just the quintessential hardworking southern grandmother. She knew how to cook meals for 40+ people at reunions yet never seemed stressed or concerned about not having enough food. And there was always enough. She was resourceful and made clothes out of any scrap material she could find for a good price. She made us foot-shaped rugs to take home one summer out of some faux fur she had lying around. She was a self-sufficient and an amazing woman. None of her sewing or cooking skills got passed down to me because my Dad knew my failures would provide him laughter later in life. (Smart man.) I took LilZ with me to see Grandma one summer when we were going to prep their house to sell since Grandma had been moved to an assisted living facility.
LilZ found a giant tin of various buttons and he thought he had died and gone to heaven it was such a neat treasure. He still has it and I’m sure she is proud of that. Collecting those things in a tin for all those years (I think my Dad may have the same type of collection) did not go unnoticed. I read The Giving Tree at her funeral too.
My Mom’s parents lived in the same town as I did growing up so I have more photos and memories of them, I think.
My maternal grandfather (“Pop”) died when I was in the 5th grade and I did a reading at his funeral. I remember enough about him to know that I got my smart-assedness (and my word-inventedness) from my Mom’s side of the family. I was his first (and obviously his FAVORITE and I will argue that to the grave because come ON – I was ADORABLE) grandchild. He would play Trivial Pursuit with my brother and I and he would obviously cheat, probably because he knew we were too polite to point out he was cheating. And then? He would loudly accuse us of cheating and it cracked us up. He sang at our church and all of my friends thought he was blind because he wore sunglasses in church. The rumor is he wore them so he could sleep during service and no one would know. But really? I don’t know why he wore them.
His wife, my maternal grandmother (“Mo”), died when I was a Junior in high school and I read at her funeral as well. She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Her clothes were always pressed and she always looked gorgeous. Where the hell were those genes when I needed them during puberty? Jeez. I called her “Mo” and would go to church with her on the Sundays I was at my Moms house. We would go to McDonalds after church and gossip about my friends parents. She would always order each of us a hamburger and it amazed me that she even looked ladylike and fancy eating a hamburger. We all know how I obviously did NOT get any sort of grace or poise from her. I’m sure she rolls over in her grave each time she sees me spill something on my clothes. She’s somewhere minus her corporeal frame, thinking, “That’s my granddaughter – the one with the boob-sweat stains on her blouse. I’m so proud.”