Quite by accident (what that really means is that I'm nosy and always snooping around for something that MIGHT be related to family or personal history) I found a binder that my aunt had put together for my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary.
I have some vague memories of their 50th wedding anniversary (I think that I was ten or eleven at the time). I remember my aunts, uncles, and cousins coming to town - and that it was at our church - but that's really it.
When I started looking at the binder I really had to give kudos to my aunt. The pages were colorful, the stories and letters written to my grandparents were sentimental and entertaining - it was a perfect collection of stories filled with memories from some of their children, friends, and grandchildren.
I think one of the favorite memories that I found was from my cousin.
When I think of Peepaw, I think of...
- Legendary, banana nut waffles with cactus honey and a side of liquorice flavored jellybeans.
- The time you taught me how to play chess. I was eleven, and I asked you to play every day for a week and a half. I’ll never forget the first and only time I beat you. I have always wondered if you let me win or if your concentration was distracted by Meemaw’s tinkering with your roast beef.
- The hundreds of paperweights that float around the den and how I felt when you gave me one for my 8th birthday.
- The way light shines through your award winning stain glass window.
- The carefree summer days when we went sailing and the wind carried us off.
- The summer when you took my brother and I to Disney Land in the “big yellow bus.” I stayed up late and listened to stories about my dad when he was my age.
- The time you taught me to be a salesman at the farmer’s market and the “procedures” of honey tasting.
- Your amazing chocolate chip cookies that I plotted to embezzle away from my brother’s clutches.
- Political humor and conversations about the next election.
- How you coaxed me into a tortuous walkathon and promised me a bag of jelly beans if I would walk the whole way. We finished the journey and went to the store. You then are the entire bag as my 5-year old body napped after an exhausting day. You then stopped and bought me another bag, and I showed my appreciation by parting with the black ones.
- The ultimate backrub and the way you use to “roll” my back with baby powder.
- How my brother and I refer to your first-aid remedy as “the treatment” . It entailsVaseline on the scrap covered with a Band-Aid. The Band-Aid would then slide around when you walked. My brother and I thought this was the funniest thing.
- How you suggested that I should dial-a story. I always thought this was the neatest concept.
- How happy I felt when you read “The Tales of Peter Rabbit” before bed, even though I had memorized it by heart.
- How you pulled me in that red wagon to the park every time I visited. On the way we collected cans, and I asked you all sorts of silly “why” questions.
- How you stopped with me and counted ants on a hot summer day.
- The time you stopped a fight my brother and I were having and told us that we were both special in different ways, and we should work together more.
- How you make the finest lemonade in west Texas.
- You never stop waiving goodbye. blocks down the road and you are in the rear view mirror still waving. It always makes me cry.
Successful Grandparent 'To Do'
- No TV (okay, a movie every now and then)
- Checkers, Chess, and Toys
- Colored pancakes and waffles
- Local honey (to make it that much sweeter)
- Must involve grandchildren in craft projects/ expose grandchildren to craft projects
- Spent a LOT of time outside
- Go on walks with a red wagon (little legs get tired)
- Have jelly beans accessible at all times
- Give outstanding back rubs
- Read to them
- Hug them
- Use aloe vera and witch hazel on cuts and scrapes
- Pink lemonade and deli sliced turkey only
Like my cousin, my sister and I were also taught to play chess by our grandfather. The pieces that he used had been made by his own father! Unlike my cousin, my sister and I never defeated our grandfather at chess (or checkers...or any other game now that I'm thinking about it). My grandparents house is full of antiques, paper weights, and art. I think a stained glass window that my grandfather made is in every room of the house.
I love that the things that mean so much to me: pancakes, waffles, walking, and the work of Beatrix Potter also meant so much to the other grandchildren. My grandparents made all of our childhoods magical. We were all so treasured by them. I've come to realize that not everyone has grandparents like that. When I think about the stories I will tell to my children about my grandparents they are shockingly similar to my cousins. I hope that I can be the kind of grandparent (or parent!!) that they were. What a legacy!