Living in the same ward as grandma and grandpa caused a lot of contention amongst us kids growing up. It was always a race and/or fight as to who got to sit by grandma during sacrament meeting- she happened to be the world’s best back tickler!
There are perks to being the baby of the family- once everyone grew up and moved away I had Grandma all to myself. Back tickles, thumb wars, tickling grandma’s feet, and wonderful commentary during those seemingly never-ending fast and testimony meetings are some of my favorite memories with grandma. We would often place bets on which ward members would get up and how long they would go. It wasn’t rare that we got shushed by grandpa and scolded by my dad for the great time we would have during sacrament meetings — I credit my excellent church attendance to my grandma!
One of our favorite memories of Grandma was when we visited Lehman Caves in Nevada. We were in the main cavern as the extremely long-winded tour guide went on and on and on about ALL the ways we could damage the caves. Grandma leaned down to us kids and said, “what do you think hot air does to the cave?” We loved Grandma’s quick wit and sense of humor.
With grandma’s passing, I came to the realization that I share the title of favorite grandchild with 16 others. Grandma had a way of making everyone feel like they were her favorite. Walking into grandma and grandpa’s house meant you knew how special you were to them. It meant undivided attention as they dropped whatever they were working on to focus on you. It meant soda pop and sugared cereal that we weren’t allowed to have at home. It meant Yorkshire puddings, apple crisp, Grandma’s punch concoctions, weenie roasts and dried fruit. It meant questions on what was happening in our lives, tears for disappointments and excitement for successes.
Despite years of pain, Grandma woke every morning ready to face the day with a smile, working with Grandpa in the orchard even on the very day she left us. Family was everything to our grandparents and we all knew it.
Grandma had a special gift of making us each feel loved and remembered. 9 years ago, Jill lost a baby and then lost another just a few years later. Without fail, Grandma remembered these great-granddaughters, leaving potted plants and Christmas trees on their headstone throughout the year. This meant so much to Jill and illustrates Grandma’s love and attention for each of us. I am sure Molly and Alyssa were some of the first to welcome grandma home.
Grandma, We could go on for hours about what you meant to us. We’ll keep a good eye on grandpa- just have the dried pears ready for our reunion. We love you!