Monday, July 03, 2006

Remembering Grandmomma

Crazy Train (of thought)

Why do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescription medications while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Politics: a word derived from the Latin word, 'poli' which means 'many' and 'tics' a species of 'bloodsucking creatures'. Appropriate, huh?

Why do the drive-up ATM machines have Braille lettering?

Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

Why does cold water make a woman’s breast look better, but a man’s – never mind.

I was looking at Meagan’s photos posted to her online photo album and saw one of the sunset taken on our sunset cruise while we in the Bahamas earlier this month. She captioned it, “How can you not believe in God when you see something like this?” My thoughts, exactly.

Marital Bliss

A recent conversation between my beautiful but excessively-devoted-to-her-dog wife and I:

“I can’t believe Princess snapped at Mario (our housekeeper).”
“I think we should send her to the gas chamber for attempted assault. Clearly she’s a vicious mutt, a liability.”
“I’ll just deduct $100 from her birthday party budget.”
“So in other words, she now owes us $100?”

Book Report

I wrote the book “Why I Love Grandma” in memory of my grandmother, Annie Ruth Lambert Brown, who died of breast cancer on May 7, 1973. My cousins, Marie Brown and Amy Brown Zinszer are walking 60 miles in San Diego this fall as participants in a Breast Cancer fund-raiser. Jill and I are donating to each of them. I clicked on Amy’s website to check on her progress toward reaching her donation goal and unexpectedly found a photo of my grandmother, smiling at me. I cried then, later when I showed it to Jill, and even now as I post this to my blog. It is a profound privilege to have loved someone so much, and to have felt their love in return, that memories of the last time you saw that someone can touch you so deeply, 33 years later.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction to that book:

“Thanksgiving is a reunion holiday for my family. It is a time when three generations converge on one house to laugh, play, talk, sing, and share a few enormous meals together. Biscuits as big as your fist with butter and homemade preserves for breakfast, and turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, bowls and bowls of vegetables, and cakes and pies for dinner, all made from my beloved late grandmother’s recipes, serve the seventy or so people who have come together to celebrate.

Although there are members of my family who never met my grandmother, or were so young at the time of her loss that they have no memories to call upon, everyone knows who she was. Each of her four daughters resembles her in their own way, and their children in turn also carry features that someone can point to and say, “Those are Grandmomma’s eyes” or “That’s Grandmomma’s smile.” As the great grandchildren who never knew her savor the sweet taste of a dessert made from a recipe handed down over four generations, they are told about Grandmomma. As the newest cooks in the family learn to make cornbread dressing and giblet gravy from scratch, they hear of how Grandmomma used to make it in the early morning, and of how the smell greeted all as they arrived at her house for a holiday meal.

Grandmomma was a short, plump woman with a face that always bore a smile. She wore horn-rimmed glasses and piled her silver hair high on her head, and nearly always had an apron tied around her waist. There were warm hugs upon greeting and departure, goodnight kisses for the lucky ones who got to spend the night, and a comforting hand on the shoulder of the one who walked next to her into church.

Grandmomma indulged her many grandchildren. I remember my cousin and me sitting at her feet, eating boiled peanuts she had just taken off the stove, as she watched the Lawrence Welk Show. Whether it was homemade peach ice cream, strawberry and rhubarb cobbler, or her famous Texas Pecan cake, there was always a dessert in the house to look forward to after the dinner dishes were cleared from the table. On warm summer afternoons we sat on the front porch and shelled peas or shucked corn and listened to her as she told us about her early days, our grandfather, and our parents.

With each year something about our Thanksgiving tradition changes just a little. Those who were once children make the right of passage and move to sit at the adult tables. A new leader emerges within the youngest generation and rallies the cousins together in mischief. A son now helps the father; a daughter now hustles in the kitchen while the mother rests. A grandfather, the religious beacon in the family, passes the torch to a grandson who offers a prayer before eating. As we witness these changes take place, these signs that our family is ever evolving, someone inevitably says, “I wish Grandmomma could be here to see this.” We mean this, of course, in the temporal sense, because we know that she is still with us — in our hearts, every day.”

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