Today would have been Grandmother Rachel’s 98th birthday. Grandmother taught me many things that became an integral part of my life, and that I have passed on to my own children. I am thankful that Grandmother taught me:
1. how to grow pot plants—Grandmother Rachel cultivated my interest in plants when I was eleven years old by handing me a piece of ivy and an old bottle to root it in. Several years ago, I consulted the Texas A & M website about the pot plants that she grew, and what she taught me about those plants matched the TX A & M information exactly. The only thing that Grandmother didn’t teach me was the Latin name of the plants.
2. how to put supper on the table with practically nothing—Grandmother put together the most scrumptious and satisfying meals on very short notice from what looked like a pretty bare cupboard. Now I know that she was cooking from basic ingredients, and not relying on prepared foods.
3. how to welcome visitors—“Get on in here!” was Grandmother’s standard invitiation when she saw me or another visitor at her door. I literally felt pulled into her cozy house with those four words.
4. to read Christian-themed books—Grandmother loved to read, and encouraged me to read the books that she read. She told me a little about the book as a “hook”, and left it out on the coffee table. I read everyone of them, and now those books are some of my favorites.
5. to visit the sick and elderly—I accompanied Grandmother on many visits to nursing homes, and to the homes of her friends. I learned that when you visit a dear friend who can no longer can smell their own urine that you don’t just ignore it, but gently tell them that they need to change their panties. Then you help them do it.
6. that cooking without a recipe takes practice–No matter how many biscuit recipes I tried, my biscuits were tough and didn’t rise much. I asked Grandmother to teach me, and was surprised when she mixed all the ingredients in a center of a large bowl of flour. Deftly, she rounded up whatever flour that clung to the liquid and formed the biscuits. I thought, “No way will these biscuits be edible.” They were the tenderest, flakiest biscuits that I ever ate! “How did you do that without a recipe?”, I asked. “Oh,” she replied, “It was my job to make biscuits for my family every morning when I lived at home. With all that practice, you learn to make good biscuits without a recipe.”
7. that cooking with a recipe yields good results—One day Grandmother told me to help myself to a golden-brown mound on a cookie sheet. She added, “You can eat it plain or with milk, if you like.” As I munched on a bowl of the sweet, crunchy goodness, I marveled that Grandmother had made her own granola. Grandmother’s granola is one of the first things that I taught my children to make.
8. to read your Bible every day—Grandmother read her Bible every morning, sitting in her chair in the den and drinking a cup of coffee. She never told me to read my Bible, but I followed her example because she was so faithful in reading hers that I knew it was important.
9. to kill mice with a broom—When the weather turned cold, we found fresh mouse droppings on the kitchen counter each morning. One evening, we spied a mouse dashing from under the cabinet to the refrigerator. I was the closest, and Grandmother exclaimed, “Get him with the broom!” I had only swatted flies and mosquitoes, so I was unsure about how to kill a mouse. But with Grandmother yelling, “Hit ’em! Hit ’em again!” I managed to beat a mouse to death with a broom. Today I have no qualms about killing mice.
10. to use your hands to bless people—Make “Uncooked Cookies” to give away; crochet colorful rugs with plastic bread wrappers; write letters; shell pecans and make pecan pies; plant irises; make plum jelly; point to God’s handiwork in the night sky.
Read Full Post »