Growing up, I waited and waited to turn eight–the summer my parents allowed me to fly on a plane all by myself and visit my grandma and grandpa in Delaware.
Grandma Brown was a feisty, spunky, sweet, hilarious woman that loved beer and Mcdonalds. She owned a frame shop–Joanie’s Frames and Things–and paid us $5 a week to “help” when we had our summer visits. She would let us stay up late watching cartoon network and loved Lifetime movies. She would’ve loved Devious Maids (have you watched it? A new show that I am loving). Every weekend, we would go to a campground in Maryland (a couple hours drive) and stay in her camper. She bought me a cheap bike that I could ride around on and bought these funky juice boxes that were basically just sugar syrup (but SO good). On the way there, she would play gameboy the whole way. She had all the gadgets to go with it, including a light up box thing that went over the screen so that she could play in the dark. And, of course, she had one for me to play with, too. (Thanks to Grandpa for driving).
Six years ago, my cousin got married, and she and Grandpa came to their wedding. I can’t begin to tell you how painful it was to see that Grandma couldn’t walk well anymore. She was only in her sixties, but the muscles in her legs were so weak, she had to use a walker. My heart broke. A few months later, I got a call one morning that she had passed away…I cried to my boyfriend (now husband) and he took me out to breakfast instead of going to chapel (Bible college). I ordered eggs benedict for some reason, and now I can’t eat them with out thinking of that morning. The taste of eggs benedict and tears.
Later that week, I went to her funeral. I saw photos of her life and mourned the loss of not knowing her better, of not writing her or calling more often. Everyone told me I looked like her. When the minister preached at her funeral, he talked of all the framing Grandma did over the years for the community and then pointed to all the pictures in the room. Grandma had framed them. And, indeed, Grandma had framed photos and art and memories around the town. Her frames hung in most houses in the community. And it was beautiful.
Simple. It was simple what she did. She had a talent and a knack, and she went with it. And now the world is a more beautiful place because of it.
Grandma, you taught me that being who we are and living our lives, enjoying our lives, is a simple way to spread beauty and happiness…a simple way to have a legacy. Thank you for all the summers and memories. Thanks for the jokes, the t.v. time, the hummingbird watching, the campground fun, the gameboy, and for being my spunky grandma. You are unforgettable, and I think of you very often. I promise to be who I am and stop being ashamed.