" Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life". (Proverbs 16:31)
Grandma was a rather unique individual, born and reared in the heart of Appalachia America. Being a native of a cross section of mountain folk-lair and coal dust, instantly prepared Grandma for her long hearty life style.
I can still see Grandma standing on the front porch of her little well-kept duplex home, dressed as always in that neatly ironed colorful flower pattern dress, with her silver hair so masterfully fixed ever so neatly in a well structured bun. And oh yes, wearing that white apron, as she always did. The one with all the food stains. I once made the mistake of asking Grandma where she kept such a garment add on, making fun of her old apron. However, in her quick release wit, Grandma simply replied," why in the ice box where else"
One warmhearted memory was all the neighborhood boys gathering around Grandma's house. Her house was always like "Grand Central Station". And yes, they would always talk sports, be it baseball or basketball. I guess it was because Grandma's boys were all "sports naturals" . I can still see all those sports trophies sitting around.
Grandma always found time to care for her children. Especially, when the boys would come home from playing community baseball, wearing those muddy uniforms. I can still picture her sitting a box of "Wheaties" cereal and a long neck glass bottle of milk on the kitchen table, to replenish their hungry constitution. In doing so, she would always quote that famous Wheaties cereal slogan by referring to her boys as champions.
One of my fondest memories was seeing Grandma greet my Uncle, as he came walking up the road towards home after the war, dressed in his full army uniform and carrying that large duffle bag. I didn't know at the time, but he had brought me a surprise present in that sack, a piece of an enemy airplane glider. That prize possession made me the talk of the entire school playground.
Among the many tender memories was the time Grandpa gave Grandma that new "Thor" washer. The washer with the new fangled "agitator". Next, along with the Thor washer came her new "Thor" so-called automatic ironer. That machine literally took up half of one of her spare rooms. Grandma would lift the iron lid, carefully place a garment on the large tube, then close the lid allowing the steam to do its trick. And over and over she would go, until her entire laundry was completely ironed stiff.
Although, our new modern technical devices were not yet invented, we still found ways to occupy our childhood time. Like following the big ice truck and eating the loose chipped ice. Grandma would always caution me to wait till the truck stopped, before climbing up for that tasty piece of ice.
I don't know how Grandma did it, as she not only always managed to get involved but she knew all about our play activities. "Did you win all those marbles again with that big " steely ", she would inquire. And all I could do was just shamefully turn my head.
Grandma never said a word, when I broke her broom stick, riding my trusted cowboy horse down the front sidewalk. And the time we kids were playing flashlight hide-and-seek in the dark and were late for supper.
Then there was the time I pinned a towel around my shoulder and played like I was "Superman". As I was simulating my space flight down the stairs, Grandma's water pipes decided to make a well timed rumble sound in the wall. Yes, I literally flew down, skipping an unknown count of stairs, till I reached the bottom. I don't think I ever heard Grandma laugh so loud.
Unfortunately, due to being a mischievous little "PK" ( preachers kid), along with those wonderfully placed memories comes those not so good recollections. Reflections , as I look back still draw a tear or two. Like the time I changed Grandma's back porch ice dial to read 100 pounds, rather than 24 pounds. You see, the ice truck would deliver the requested amount of ice for her ice box. Boy, did I get in trouble for that one.
And the time I drove Grandma's good silverware in the back yard ground. That too put me in the everlasting dog house. Yes, I'm sure we all have our childhood memories. Some of which we are ashamed to this very day. But through it all, what stood out in my Grandma's flawless character was her Christian demeanor. She always seemed to have a Bible verse fitting for any occasion. And in spite of my many feats of mischief, I never once saw Grandma get mad or lose her temper. Although, she would shed an occasional tear.
Grandma was well known for her cooking and baking. Especially the tasty chocolate ice-box pies. Real home-made pies made the old fashion mixing way, not with those prefab chemicals. Somehow, she always managed to have an extra piece waiting for my visit. To this day, it has always been a mystery how Grandma knew we were coming over. The only bad part of this ceremony was that she would always made me wash up before coming to the table.
Oh, if I could just see Grandma now. To hug her and tell her once more how much I love her. But wait, I will see her one day, when we all are settled in "Glory Land". And although she has been in heaven for over a half century now, according to God's plan, she is still only in her first day of her heavenly service, as a day with the Lord is as a 1000 years. ( 2 Peter 3:8 ). And no watches nor calendars can be found in Glory Land.
Yes, I surely miss Grandma and Grandpa alike. But Grandpa's story is for another time and place.
So, for now, " Dear Lord, just let me continue be a child again, just for today. Just to turn back the clock to those happy years of yesterday. A time of the simple way of life. A life chunked full of the joy and happiness. A time when Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were as real, as the nights happy dream world. A time when Grandma would pull my covers up tight and kiss me goodnight". But we all have to grow up, don't we.
" When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways" ( 1 Cor 13:11) .
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