Summers meant time at Sourdough, playing Phase 10 and Skip-Bo with grandma in the screen tent while the scent of mothballs wafted over from under grandma & grandpa’s trailer. I remember sitting outside her trailer one day, trying to find some shade in the hot sun, when a flaming kitchen towel came flying out the door, followed by a train of expletives. Grandma had set it on fire.
Sourdough Days would roll around and grandma would recruit every willing grandchild to save spaces for Bingo. We’d sit in the hot sun all day feasting on hotdogs, chips, and airhead taffy…playing Bingo off of our dozens of cards. Grandma would heckle the caller, and tease other players. Then came the raffle…she’d buy scores of tickets and put each grandkids’ name on one…hoping for that ever elusive swing grand prize.
Grandma was a practical joker...and if you were lucky you could pull one off on her. One Sunday night I loaded up the door of her fridge with towels – something she HATED. I did it right before we left so she wouldn’t notice until we’d gone. Once we got home she called and demanded to know who had done it…”karma’s a bitch” she told me.
You could always count on her to be fiercely honest…about what you were doing with your life, what you were wearing, anything. But she was always supportive, even if it was something she didn’t like – like Nathan and I moving 4000 miles away to Italy; or understand – like football. The few years Nathan and I lived back in Utah we tried to continue the Sunday nights at grandma & grandpa’s house. We’d bring snacks and watch football…a sport neither of them seemed to know anything about…at first. Week after week we’d spend the evening there, although grandma would have to bow out at some point to go watch Survivor or Deal or No Deal in the other room. When my team lost in the championship round and I sat in her chair and cried…she teased me. For weeks.
You didn’t see her cry much. But I remember when she met our sweet Miles that tears rolled down her wrinkly cheeks. She loved her grandkids more than anything in the world…more than lotto tickets even. And when the great grandkids started rolling in she just spread that love around even more. You always knew grandma was good for a cookie, a kiss, and a pinch on the butt. I know she’s up there now, kissing all the rest of her great-grandbabies who haven’t joined us yet; teaching them how to flip the bird, and telling them the best places for lotto tickets.
I'm grateful to have had so many years with her, and look forward to the time when I know I'll see her again.
June 6, 1933 - February 11, 2014