Today we were blessed to spend the entire day with my grandmother, Auntie S., and her hubby in beautiful Hermitage, MO, near Lake Pomme de Terre. For those who did not take french, I will translate (I think): Lake "Apple of the Earth", or as Tex had fun saying all day, "Lake Potato." No, the lake does NOT look like a potato. It is actually quite lovely and tempting, but unfortunately, the weather and our schedule did not leave room for more than an appreciative viewing of it.
Uncle P. kindly took Hubby, Firefly, Tex, and Cowboy on a tour of the area, showing them the dam, the control tower, and the island nearby. I remember last time we were here, post-Hurricane Ivan (we stayed with Auntie S. for a few days, then an absent neighbor with a lake view loaned us her house for a week...awesome!), and we quite enjoyed swimming at the lake. It is gorgeous here, and the weather is usually fairly temperate compared to other areas. We just happened to get here on a 100 degree plus day that was not conducive to appreciating outdoor activities with little children.
In spite of the fact that we didn't get to swim, we had a delightful time with my grandmother, listening to stories of the old days and making a few new memories. She seemed so happy to see us, and looked quite well for all her ninety-two well-lived years. It has been a few years since we've seen her, and she had never met Abby or Joey in person before today. I truly wish we lived closer to her, so that we could see her several times a year, at least. I have missed not growing up near my grandmothers, and I miss them not being here for my own children's sake...but we are blessed to be close to my parents once again. I am thankful for that.
Grandma and Abby seemed to "click" and they spent quite some time coloring, playing dollies, and reading books. Abby would bring a dolly to Grandma and say, "My dolly is sick, " then Grandma would give a diagnosis and treatment, which Abby would then carry out. Once when Abby said her dolly wouldn't stop crying, Grandma quipped, "I think your dolly is spoiled...you hold her too much!" Ha ha ha. It was so funny. Grandma raised five kids of her own and is from a family of eleven children. She's got lots of child-rearing smarts. In practical terms, I am sure she believes that kids shouldn't be held all the time because it just can't be done and that kids need to learn to fit into a family instead of be the center of the universe. We all need to hear practical advice from folks who have traveled the roads we are traveling. She sure loves to hold babies now, and I am glad she had the chance to hold mine for a while.
Boo had a dandy time with Grandma's walker. He is just on the edge of learning to walk. He stands for about ten seconds at a time and cruises around furniture. He even occassionally stands up from a squat, then sits back down once he realizes what he's done...it reminds me of the story of Peter walking on the water...as soon as he started to think about what he was doing, he started to sink. Well, Boo discovered that he could manipulate Grandma's walker and toddle all over the house and spent about forty-five minutes doing just that. Grandma had a huge smile on her face the whole time and I could tell she was glad to have the kids around. Even when the noise level got a bit high, they all agreed that it was nice, because it was usually so quiet...too quiet.
Kids are good for people. I think that having the opportunity to put kids and older family members together is such a treasure for everyone. You can't beat the benefits of exposure to the wisdom and stories of our older family members. Jesus taught with parables, stories, for a good reason. Anyone can understand and glean lessons from stories. Even children. Or should I more correctly say, even stubborn, prideful adults.
My grandmother is full of wit and wisdom and wonderful hugs.
In a perfect world, we would have our families living together, the way they used to in older days. The benefits of that to both the young and the old are priceless. My own great-grandmother (on my mother's side) lived to be 104 years old, and I think it was because she lived in her own home, took care of her own business (with the exception of the outdoor work, which my Great Uncle Jim did), and basically had a reason for being. I feel so badly for older people these days who get shuffled off into group homes because families are so fractured and just plain busy. Too busy to include anything that might take a bit of extra time. If you have a loved one in an assisted living home, please don't think I am preaching to you. I know there are reasons for needing that sort of facility. I just wish our families were more intact these days. I think it would not only benefit the individuals, but it would also benefit society in general. History is doomed to repeat itself if we do not learn from it, and how can we learn from it, if we do not have the opportunity to hear it?
Enough sermonizing from me, and back to our trip. The rest of the day was utterly pleasant. My Auntie S. was the perfect hostess, selflessly serving us both a filling lunch and a delicious dinner (the kids' favorite...spaghetti and salad!)
When the guys and kids got back from their tour of the town, Auntie S., Ladybug (who did not go along with the guys due to a tummy ache), and I went to a store called Tinker's Treasures. This place is special to us because five years ago, Auntie S. bought a one-year old Ladybug her best-stuffed-friend, Bobo, when we visited during our "Run Away from Hurricane Ivan Midwest Tour." Bobo is a fluffy pink dog with a poochy belly and she goes everywhere with Ladybug...still. Milo, Ladybug, and Bobo pose in front of Bobo's "birthplace" below.
I found a treasure to remember our visit for a mere twelve dollars...a white hobnail dish I plan to put on my dresser to keep my most often worn jewelry in. It is very thick and heavy, and so pretty. I also got a great handmade sunglass case for a whole two dollars.
While we were gone, the boys (Tex and Uncle P.) played a game of chess and Hubby had time to talk to Grandma J. about her years as a Sunday school teacher and how blessed she is by the memories of those times. He also talked about Creation Science with Uncle P., who is not so sure what he thinks about that. It was a good time of getting to know each other, which was wonderful because his rigorous Navy schedule has prevented Hubby from traveling with us during our summer trips over the last twelve years.
When we got back to the house, Auntie S. showed off her garden (and new homemade potting bench), while Uncle P., the kids, and Hubby helped pull some of the weeds and water it. After that, Grandma J. was eager to show me the quilt she had made with her sisters...all seven of them. One sister sent out squares with drawings on them for each of the ladies to embroider (like the tea towels you often see). When they were done, the squares were distributed equally, and seven quilts were made. Squares with a picture of the whole family and of their parents together were added, trim, binding, and then quilting was done, and each sister received a lovely quilt just full of love and memories. Here is a picture of my grandmother with her quilt, and close-ups of a few of the squares she made:
It was difficult to leave at the end of the day, but we did have an hour's drive up to Lake of the Ozarks ahead of us. Knowing that we will see her again on Friday at my Uncle D.'s made saying goodbye easier, but I can't help but wish one more time that this was an everyday sort of thing. At least I know that someday, in Heaven, it will be an everyday sort of thing. I am endlessly thankful for that.
Blessings to you and yours,
By the way, Milo decided he liked Auntie S.'s cookies so much, he would stay an extra day with them and skip Lake of the Ozarks. He will catch back up with us in Omaha, just in time to go to the Zoo.
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