Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Grandma Ona

My Grandma Ona passed away last month, and though she had grown old and her health was failing, the suddenness of her passing was a blow.

My grandma was quite a woman.


She was tender, resourceful, active, tenacious, and hilarious. She lugged castaway furniture out of alleyways to give it new life; she cooked with plenty of butter as all good cooks do; she kept her fridge — and other corners of her house — well-stocked with candy (in this way, I always felt she was my kindred spirit), and she never judged me when I wanted to eat chocolate before and after every meal. She raised three kids after the sudden and very early death of her husband; she sent all her grandkids birthday cards every year; and she laughed readily and fully — especially at herself. She was marshmellow and steel, and we loved her for it.





Once, when we were kids, my sister, cousin Emily, and I stayed at my grandma's house for the weekend. We had a hankering for hard-boiled eggs that first morning at her house, so we plopped several eggs in a pan of boiling water, put the lid on the pan, and, before the eggs had finished cooking, we decided to go shopping. My grandma had a knack for finding a bargain and a hunch that the sales down the street would yield all sorts of treasures.

In our eagerness to hit the sales, we forgot about the boiling eggs, and when we returned from shopping, we were greeted with the overpowering stench of eggs-gone-bad. Upon walking into the kitchen, we noted the burner was on, the egg pan was empty, and the ceiling was splattered with the boiled eggs. It was a sulfuric Jackson Pollock, traces of which would stubbornly cling to the ceiling for many years to come. 

When my grandma saw that mess of goopy egg on the ceiling, she laughed fit to kill. Her shoulders shook, and tears welled up in her eyes, and the three of us girls joined her in deep belly laughter. For the rest of her life, whenever we revisited the egg incident, we laughed.


Last week my family sat in a circle and told stories about grandma. We revisited the egg incident, of course, and we remembered our last conversations with her; and when we were done remembering aloud, we planted a rose bush in her memory. When spring comes, it will yield sunset roses with petals of fuchsia, sherbet, amber, and crimson.

My siblings and I with grandma's rose

I think my grandma would have loved it.




© by scj

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