I have been remembering my grama today.
Tomorrow is Easter and we're having company for dinner. I want it to be an occasion...good food, a pretty table, happy laughter...a springtime feast to celebrate a holy day. I'm trying to do most of the work now, so I can relax and enjoy tomorrow. This means scrubbing potatoes, polishing silver and hunting for old wedding presents which can be used as serving dishes.
All this domestic busy-ness reminds me so much of Grama. Eating at her house was always an occasion. The clink of china and crystal, sparkling silverware and crisp table linens. Delicious food presented beautifully. Centerpieces and candlesticks.
Grama would greet us at the door, wearing an apron and smelling expensive. She wasn't a storybook grandmother--fat, wrinkled and jolly. Grama was slim, elegant, youthful, classy. The perfect makeup and manicured hands hid the fact that she worked like a demon. Her home was the cleanest earthly place I have ever seen. She loved to scrub. And dig in the garden. And whip up creations on her speedy sewing machine.
Grama was the hostess with the mostess. As the oldest grandchild, she always treated me like a VIP guest. Sleepovers at Grama's house meant I got my own sparkling bathroom, breakfast served on blue and white china, and a night at the Salt Palace watching the Utah Jazz with her and Grampa Jiggs. Sometimes she even let me bring a buddy and I remember being SO proud of my fun and generous grandparents. Grama was interested in all my friends and remembered their names year after year.
She was gracious and forgiving. This was a good thing. Especially the night my 4th grade friend,Tracy, and I spilled BLACK fingernail polish on her off-white(!) guest room carpet.
Grama's backyard was the setting for my summer wedding reception so many summers ago. It was beautiful and elegant. I remember that she invited me into her glorious master bathroom to freshen my hair and makeup before the guests arrived. "Oh, Gobbins! I can't believe you are all grown up. A married woman!" She gave me a hug and let the spotlight shine on me all night long.
My new husband loved coming to Grama's house too. And, after a few years, when all my girlfriends were having babies and no one knew just what to say to the barren one, Grama's house became a refuge. Grama had waited awhile for her babies, too. She knew when to talk and when to listen and how to distract me with new books or recipes or decorating ideas. Grama became my best girl-friend and confidante.
The last dinner I had at Grama's house was over ten years ago. She hosted a going-away party for Brad and I as we headed East for a new home and adventure. At the end of the night, I sensed that she was tired and, being emotionally drained myself, said a quick goodbye but promised that I would visit before we flew to our new hometown.
In the rush and hecticness of moving, I forgot my promise.
And, less than two weeks later, Grama died unexpectedly.
The funeral was lovely. People stood in line for hours and hours say goodbye and pay their respects.
Grama wasn't famous or important in any worldly way. She never ran for office or even lived in a different town than the one where she was born. She didn't have a big career or write a book. She just raised flowers and children. She wrote thank you notes. And she hosted beautiful dinners and made everyone in her presence feel special.
She taught her children, who taught their children, about Jesus and life after death and living a good life while still on earth.
And so I'll be thinking of her at my Easter dinner tomorrow.
Love you, Grama!