Did I ever tell you about the time my Gram and her neighbour took me for a drive in their small town in the 80s, and we saw a Young Man wearing Very Tight Trousers, and my Gram, who was usually so proper and reserved, said “Gol, if he passed wind, he’d split those trousers right in half!”? I thought I was going to die.
Or the time NOBODY believed me about the litany of foodstuffs Gram would offer if you even thought about considering a visit, until we had a game event and Gram drove into the middle of the yard and leapt out of the car offering fried chicken to everyone? Or perhaps a tomato sandwich?
Then there was the time my Gram bought my father a dildo from Consumers Distributing?
While I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my Gram, she did some pretty amazing stuff. Her family was a family of means until the Great Depression, when my great Grandfather lost everything by offering farmers credit on the bills they owed him. They survived the dust bowl, and my Gram, rather than doing what was expected of her (getting married and turning out as many kids as possible in hopes that some would survive), she instead found whatever work she could, taking in laundry and working at shops to earn an income. When she did marry a just-starting-out farmer, she had my father, and returned to work. She had a 30 year career working at the bank in her town. She did what most women in the 40s and 50s would not do.
She survived the Depression, the war years, small town gossip, two husbands, one daughter-in-law, three of five siblings, and the madness of the 20th century.
There’s no denying that she’s a bit of an odd old bird, my Gram.
My mother treated her terribly, which is something I’m ashamed of.
She had the most amazing laugh – when Gram got going, no one within earshot could help themselves; we all dissolved into fits of belly laughs, until there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
There are times I will miss her. Most of her 87 years were good ones, she told me a few weeks ago. “When I go,” she said, “I won’t have any regrets. I’ll know I lived a blessed life.”
You did at that, Gram. You lived a blessed life. Ain’t nobody in the hereafter going hungry with you there.