Following Grace

"Grandmothers and roses are much the same. Each are God's masterpieces with different names."
~ Author Unknown

Lucky me. I was the very first grandchild and thus had the longest time to learn from this first and most special of my Wise Women—my maternal grandmother. Wise women are strong women. Those adjectives define her.

She had the wisdom to marry the right man--the first time; he adored her until his death. She was smart enough and able to go to "business school" after high school. This knowledge certainly helped once she married and became a farmer's wife. She buried their first child who died in the flu epidemic after WWI. Her last child was born prematurely, at home on the farm, on a wintry March day. She kept that swaddled scrap of a baby alive by keeping it in a dresser drawer on top of a stove to keep the baby warm. That baby lived and grew strong.

Gram ran the house, the kitchen garden, handled the kids (3) and helped take care of the finances. She endured through the depression years, droughts, a hail storm that took all their crops one year, and the following year, a tornado that devastated their farm and crops. Unable to keep their farm, they started over in middle age in another state, a few years before World War II. She was a Rosie Riveter and worked in various jobs thereafter until after age 70. She never missed a work day.

As a young woman in her twenties, she had taken a very nasty fall off a ladder in the barn. She injured her back. Medical treatments then were not like they are today. As a result, she lived with pain and wore a corset-like brace every day until she died at age 79. If you asked how she felt, she'd smile and say, "fine" without the need to complain.

She wasn't perfect: she hated potatoes, ice-cream and really hot summer days. Why? One year, their family ate mostly potatoes. Why ice-cream? After the hail storm that ruined their crops, my grandpa made ice-cream from the hail stones, a real treat in the heat of summer. Why the summer heat? Well, she lived a major part of her life in Iowa—and it gets mighty hot out there.

Faith and love ruled her life. Faith helped her get through all her challenges. She trusted in the Lord and the strength he gave her and her husband. Love ruled her actions and those she touched were always changed and bettered by knowing her. She was a woman of her time who changed with time. She remains timeless in memories and my heart.

MJ and GramShe was a petite woman with a feisty spirit which she used to meet her challenges, protect her family, and add some zest to life when life needed some spirit.

I could write about book about her. Maybe someday I will. In so many ways she shaped and formed me the woman I am today. I've had challenges to overcome. Whenever I've encountered one and wondered "How I can do this?", Gram comes immediately to mind. I walk on her path. She taught me well. I hope I do the same for those who follow me.

"Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever."
~ Author Unknown


Mary Jo

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