Not Just April Fools Day

Today would be my grandmother’s birthday.  She passed on about ten years ago, after a series of strokes that first confined her to a wheelchair and eventually made her an invalid.  She spent years slowly declining, but she didn’t complain a bit.  Her last year or two were spent mostly in bed as her quality of life became practically nonexistent.  When we got the phone call that she was gone, I felt no sadness — just relief.  All I could do was thank God that she was finally out of her misery.

I am a lot like her, people tell me.  She loved to cook, to entertain, to decorate.  She was always changing things up around the house.  She wasn’t a particularly warm person, but I knew she loved me.

I have her wedding china.  She has two daughters, but one didn’t want it, and as for the other, well, I’ll spare you the family drama.  Suffice it to say, I got it!  It’s the Apple Blossom pattern by Haviland.  It’s beautiful and old-fashioned, and when I use it, I imagine her as a young bride, entertaining on the same plates.

I also have her Kitchen Aid mixer that she gave me when she was no longer able to cook.  I don’t think she had it long before it came to me, and it’s still going strong; I’ve had it for over twelve years.

I used to send her my famous peanut butter balls, and she would hide them up high on a shelf so my Granddad wouldn’t eat them!  That always tickled me.  I don’t know how she reached them from her wheelchair, but my cousin told me once that when she was visiting, our grandmother said to her, “You want a treat?” and then instructed her where to find the tin of peanut butter balls on the high shelf.  Maybe she waited until she had visitors to get her fix.

On our last visit, I was engaged to be married.  My fiance (now my husband) was a recent seminary graduate, and he was preparing to go into the pastoral ministry.  (He never pursued that, incidentally, but that’s a story for another time.)  My grandmother had been a pastor’s wife for over 50 years, so I asked her if she had any advice for a future pastor’s wife.

Her speech was very limited, due to the strokes, but she managed to garble the following words: “Develop a thick skin.”

I’ve never forgotten her wise words.  Although I never became a pastor’s wife, I have repeated that advice to many others along the way.  And I suppose it applies to many roles in this life.  I try not to get offended by much.  Life’s easier that way.

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12 Responses

  1. Your grandma sounds a lot like my husbands grandmother who we lost earlier this year – she had parkinson’s disease and had been unable to care for herself or anyone else for at least the past 5 years. We went to visit her shortly after our little one was born last fall and have some precious pictures that are our last memories of Grandma – she told my husband at that time that she missed cooking more than anything else. She is the lady that the first time we went to visit her after we were married was up at 1:30 in the morning when we arrived with supper hot on the stove and dessert in the fridge, even though we’d told her we wouldn’t be hungry when we arrived. She was a precious lady and I’m thankful that I got to know her.

    Your grandma gave you good advice – pastor’s wife or not! A thick skin saves you a lot of grief!

  2. I thought about your Grandmother today too. She was a godly woman and a good example to all of us of quiet submission to God first and then to her husband. She was a very hard worker (like you) and she was very creative (like you). She always had a craft going – but her interests changed as the trends changed. She kept a lovely home and was always ready to entertain (like you). She was also a hard worker in the church (like you). It is a good day to remember her, and I am grateful she touched my life. She was a beautiful woman inside and out (like you). I am so glad you have her china to remind you of how much she loved you.

  3. What a sweet tribute to your Grandmother. I’m sure she would have been proud of you. And what a sweet post for your “Grammie”. That just about made me bust out in tears!!! You are loved!

  4. She sounded like an amazing person and what blessings to have such fond memories and possesions of hers.

    I have such a place in my heart and memories for my Granny who passed many years ago. She was a beautiful person…someone so special that I have neve met someone like her and doubt I ever will.

    I have her sewing machine and a blanket she made. Very special objects to me.

    Love Grandmas!

  5. What an amazing Grandmother you had. I happen to be a pastor’s wife, and that is definitely the best advice you can give a young woman who is about to embark onto the road of ministry. I am so thankful I still have my grandparents, although I know that one day I won’t. Thanks for sharing her with us all!

  6. Happy birthday to your grandmother, even though she is no longer here. I love her china pattern, and I’ll bet I would have loved her, too.

    Luck her, she got the diamond birthstone right under the wire!

  7. What an awesome post! My husband is also in seminary, although he doesn’t plan on going into ministry per se. Great advice. And thanks for the virtual peanut butter balls. LOVE them! yum!!!

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