Saturday, November 02, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Grace (Part 2)

Continued from yesterday. Read Part 1 here.

I had another grandmother, and still do! While my dad's mother was always Grandma Q to us kids, my mum's mother was simply Grandma. She has been part of my life since day one, part of my special family support system as virtually my second mother. When my mum went back to work in her kindergarten class when I was a few months old, Grandma was there to look after me. In my early years I grew up half at my own house and half at Grandma and Grandpa W's house. Our time together only grew when I turned five and we moved into a house right next to our Adventist school. From our new house it took less than a 10-minute bike ride to get to Grandma and Grandpa's house. My cousin, my siblings, and I biked back and forth all the time.

Grandma and me on my first birthday

Grandma is also a great cook. My personal favourite Grandma foods have always been her homemade buns and pies. Coming into her house on Friday afternoons you would be greeted with the glorious smell of buns baking. I also loved her canned peaches and cherries. I remember helping Grandma with her cooking and baking. Her pantry storage area was downstairs, off the laundry room, while her kitchen was upstairs. Often she would ask me or one of my siblings to run down to the pantry to grab ingredients she needed. I always loved it when she asked me to get flour. I would take the flour container down to the pantry, and pour the flour in using a small cup left in the large flour barrel. When that task was done, I couldn't resist plunging my hands (and arms) deep into the flour, feeling the soft, silky grains between my fingers. (I confessed this to my mum a few years ago and she said I should tell Grandma. Thankfully she found it funny after all these years and said, "Well, I guess it wasn't that bad. None of us ever got sick from it!")

Grandma was always able to make up fun games for us grandkids to play or ideas for us to do. Instead of simply pouring candies into a bowl and giving them to us, she had us run down the porch stairs, stand on the grass looking up at her on the porch, and then would toss Ju-Jubes down to us. In hindsight, this might have been a cunning way to get us out of the house and out from underfoot for a bit, and if it was, it sure worked well! Doing chores at Grandma's house never seemed too tedious as there were stories to listen to while drying dishes or peeling vegetables. And picking fruit from the bushes and trees in the yard was just plain fun, not a chore at all. Grandma often had us race to see how many we could pick before her timer went off.

Not only was Grandma very clever, but she was also amazingly smart. She had been a teacher at various one-room schools back as a young woman in Saskatchewan. Later she did substitute teaching once in awhile when her girls were in school themselves. She helped me through elementary math far better than any of my teachers. When I was learning to add and subtract she got out her old deck of Busy Bee cards and we would play endless games while I was charged with keeping score and adding up the columns of numbers. When fractions and rounding stumped me in grade six, she spent lots of time with me, writing out multitudes of fraction and rounding problems on scrap paper for me to answer while we sat in the car waiting for my siblings' piano lessons to be over and my turn to come. After weeks and months of that, something finally clicked for me and rounding made sense. Soon after fractions also started to come easier for me.

Games were a big priority at Grandma and Grandpa's house. On Sabbath afternoons we played Birds and Animals (by the Review and Herald), Egypt to Canaan, or Life of Christ. On Saturday nights we played Yahtzee or Probe or Wide World while chomping fruit salad and popcorn laden with brewer's yeast. As a treat Revello ice cream bars or Fudgsicles could usually be found in the freezer, and if not, there was always ice cream. In winter Grandma showed me how to warm it up in the microwave for a sweet, warm treat.

Through the years Grandma has always been a huge source of inspiration. When my family moved to Alberta when I was eight and a half, Grandma told me to write her letters, and when I did, she praised my writing abilities. High on Grandma's praise, I decided to become an author and penned quite a few novellas on small pads of paper, sending them to Grandma as presents. She kept them all, and when she showed them to me years later and gave them back we both had a few laughs at my ridiculous plots. :) I think it's safe to say that Grandma kick-started my love of writing, which might have otherwise subsided once I moved from Language Arts to English classes during elementary school.

Gram and me at Bryn's wedding in September

As sad as I am that I never got to know my Grandma Q very well, I am thrilled that I have been able to form strong and positive bonds with my Grandma. And I am so glad for the hospitality and grace both my grandmothers modeled for me. I am definitely the person I am today because of their positive influences. I love you both so much, Grandma and Grandma Q!

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My musings on the prompt 'grace' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!

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