Today my grandma turns 87. Turning 87 and still living on her own, drinking nothing but Barq's Root Beer and eating Popcorn Twists (Corn Twists as I believe she calls them) and watching a ball game. My Grandma is not perfect but she's pretty great.
Why would I even bother mentioning she's not perfect? Because I seem to have inherited some of her imperfections and so I'd like to blame her. The choking issue I mentioned a few blogs ago? Totally her. My addiction to all things sweet and bad for me? Her. And my mother. Although they both eat vegetables more willingly than I. I? Eat corn. Cooked peas and carrots. Raw cucumbers. Red peppers. And that's about it. Salad makes me want to puke. Unless it's Caesar and then I only eat it for the croutons. Which is probably why my kids refer to it as "Crouton Salad".
My mom and I lived with Grandma and Grandpa for the first few months of my life. And if you asked any of my cousins (the ones old enough to remember), I was their "favourite". And for this, I paid. I was the youngest of the four oldest cousins and though the memories are vague I do remember telling on them for not 'playing nice'. This did not help my cause.
Grandma used to take myself and two of my cousins to Bible Camp every summer. Sometimes before or after camp we spent time at our grandparents house in Outlook. And then we were often treated to one of Grandma's special hair washes. For whatever God Forsaken reason, she preferred to bend us backwards over the tub and scrub our tiny scalps til they were raw. And our backs ached. You did not complain though. Nor did you ever nod in response to a question because "Grandma can't hear you nod your head".
What did you get in return? Oreos. Chocolate Milk. Lucky Charms. Zoodles and Kraft Dinner. Things that were expressly forbidden in my home. My dad was the reason for this. Us poor kids got nothing but freshly baked goods, homemade french toast and pancakes for breakfast in the winter and a variety of homemade meals (all made by my mom,except for the French Toast). I wanted Kraft Dinner. Grandma gave it to me. This could have something to do with her stunning inability to prepare anything edible on some occasions. Anyone who can cook in this family? Inherited it from my Grandpa.
She taught us to say bedtime prayers and to sing "Jesus Loves Me". She traced our feet. She drove us lots of places. Slowly. And stopped so we could look at cows. We all grew up in Saskatchewan. We were all quite familiar with livestock but this fact seemed to escape her on those particular occasions.
When I had my first son, at 16, Grandma came and stayed with us. We lived with my mom but she was going to school herself at the time, so Grandma came. And drove us to our first baby check-up. We left an hour early and drove to the other side of town for no apparent reason, but she was there.
She loved driving. Which is probably why we took the long way. She was likely jonesing for a fix of 8th Street. Which if you don't live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan or have never been there, this means nothing to you.
All in all, while I may have not had an abundance of 'traditional' male role models in my life, I can't say the same when it comes to the womenfolk. We are not without our differences but it's what makes us who we are.
My Grandma is, some might say, devoutly religious. I think my mom believes in God but that's where it ends. I don't mind attending church on the rare occasion I have, but can't bring myself to say I believe in God. My Grandma? Is not a fashion plate. My Mother? Is. I am? Somewhere In Between. We are all blessed with the beloved 'apple' shape which means tiny limbs and thick middles. We are also blessed with the love of music. And my mother and grandma, with the gift of it. I am, on the other hand, blessed with the innate ability to take the Lord's name in vain in front of my grandmother...because I'm an ass.
Happy Birthday Grandma!