My grandma is one tough cookie. She grew up during The Great Depression, sent a husband off to World War II, raised 4 kids and beat lung cancer. When I was little she was always a bit more frightening to me than my grandpa and I still don’t know exactly why, she was only ever really mad at me once, when I carelessly tore a chunk out of a tree while mowing her yard.
I’d often be over at my grandparent’s house during the summer, especially once I was old enough to be allowed to ride my bike the two miles to their place. Lunch was always around 11:15 and dinner around 4 or so. Grandma wasn’t too big on baking or cooking like Donna Reed, but the food was always good and there was always enough to fill up on. I used to put Bugles on each finger and eat them off one by one, or snack on Tater Skins. Sometimes when my cousins were visiting we’d be able to convince her to get a box of pizza rolls for us to share.
After grandpa died and my parents divorced I found myself stuck with the job of being the man of two houses. I would walk through the cemetary past my grandfather’s grave to get to her house. I resented this at first, I was in middle school, starting high school and there were plenty of other things I would have rather done than clean gutters and mow the yard and trim trees at two different houses. I got over this as my grandma got older and I grew older and into the realization at just how much I was needed. Relatively, I wasn’t needed very much, but it was enough to speak to me. When I went off to college the little chores would pile up until I came home on a break and I’d hear from my grandma how my mom was too busy to bother often and from my mom how my grandma needed help so often. [And I’ll get in trouble from both of them if they read this].
Grandma is nearly impossible to beat at scrabble and euchre [although she makes an excellent partner at the latter]. She also kicked crossword ass when she still did them. A couple of years ago she moved out from the house in Connersville and moved to Noblesville in a sort of retirement community/assisted living sort of place, her emphysema and poor eyesight make it hard for her to do much. I don’t see her as often as I used to, and I don’t even call as often as I used to. I sometimes wonder if she still gets joy from her life and family or if she is just waiting.