Today would have been my grandmother's 98th birthday. She passed back in 97. Partially due to old age, partially kidney failure since she only had one because she had given the other to a family member.
I loved that woman with all my heart. When I was little, I would go to church with her every Sunday and she would let me start the car. I would spend practically all of my time at her house because she and my grandfather lived right next door to us. My mom said that one day, when I was about 4 or 5, I packed up some stuff in a grocery bag and told my parents I was leaving and off I went to my grandparents' house. Gram kept Mom calm when I dug up a Black Beauty out of the couch and ate it. Gram broke it to my parents that I could read and I wasn't just looking at the pictures in the newspaper. (They really thought I was just looking at the pictures and didn't believe my Gram until she made me come over and read for them.) Gram let me watch Welcome Back, Kotter on the big TV after school.
Let me tell you that the woman could COOK! I never learned why she was nicknamed Cook, but she certainly lived up to it. She made the best mac and cheese and peach junk EVER! Those exact recipes went to her grave with her. No matter how much time I spent in her kitchen and how many times I asked what went in, I never got an answer. :-) It was always a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The mac and cheese I can sorta replicate but I wouldn't even know where to start on the peach junk.
She had a set of dishes that she wanted me to have. She told me so. But when she passed, there was too much fighting, too much drama and I didn't get them. I really wish I had them.
So, on this day, Gram's day, I like to think about the good things. The Nilla wafers she always had for me. Watching her cook. Being able to go to her house any time. Walking into her kitchen one day to find her drinking beer and burping with her church buddies. Even her funeral isn't so bad to think about because it was a packed house full of people who loved her.
Today, I know you are at peace, Gram, looking down on me and my brother and Kiddo, with Pops and Dad and Aunt Barbara and Uncle Kenny and so many others at your side, and I hope that you are smiling. I hope that you know that we're doing our best. I hope that one day we will see each other again and I can finally get those recipes. Most of all, I hope you know that I loved you with all my heart.