Whenever I think of Thanksgiving I immediately think of my sweet grandma. Growing up we always had her over for Thanksgiving. We also shared our birthday celebrations together. Her birthday is the day after mine, and every so many years one of our birthdays will fall on Thanksgiving.
I can't lie, many times I resented her being there at every birthday party. She always liked to watch my friends and myself- see what we were up to. As she got older her watching turned into open mouth gaping. Oh Grandma! Of course I miss all of that now. She loved me most of all out of all of her grandchildren. (I hope my cousins don't read my blog.) It is a fact, we spent the most time together. She taught me to sew and crochet. She taught me how to iron and how to make biscuits.
That's me with my Grandma and Grandpa in 1975. I have a dirty look on my face because I hated that dog- Jo-Jo. He was the meanest ball of teeth and fur that walked the Earth. He tortured me until I was about 10 when he finally died of old age (he was like 17 years old I think.) I remember that little guitar in my hands fondly. Maybe I should have whacked the dog with it- show him who was boss!
Grandma made the best chicken and dumplings on the planet. And iced tea, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, bread.. I could go on. Her pride and joy was her Thanksgiving dressing. She started on it the night before. It wasn't anything fancy- homemade cornbread and Stove Top Stuffing mix. But it was out of this world- I think it was all the love she baked into it. Did I mention her pies? My mouth is watering, thinking back to those pies. I know I have pictures of some our Thanksgiving feasts- my mom always took a picture of the table before we all dug in. I need to find them, they have so much more meaning to me now.
Next week will be her 97th birthday on Thanksgiving Day. She was born in 1912- I wish I could see history through her eyes. This may very well be her last birthday. I am sad we will not be able to spend it together like old times. I will try calling her, but honestly I don't think she will know who I am. She was one of 7 children and the only one left. She nursed two of her brothers and her only sister on their deathbeds. After her last sibling passed- about 4 years ago- she started to let go. I really think she made it that far- just so she could take care of them. Now she lives with my mom and is in hospice care. My mom said she talks to her father all of the time and thinks I am still a baby. She gets confused when my mom tries to explain that I am all grown up now- so when asked "where is the baby"- mom just tells her I am sleeping.
She is a tough lady. She told my mom that she wants to make it to 100 so the guy on the Today show will announce her birthday. I wouldn't be surprised if she does. The doctors will probably say no, but we are not sure what to expect. She survived breast cancer and a masectomy at 75. She laughed about getting her "boob" cut off. We were all just amazed.
San Diego- going to lunch at Mission Beach 1993
Not only did she pass on her love of sewing to me, but she gave me her thumbs as well. I have the same squat fat thumbs as she has. Kids used to tease me, ask if I sucked my thumbs. That never bothered me- I was proud to have my grandma's thumbs (no one else in the family inherited them.) My children didn't get them, but maybe some day I'll have a grandchild that will get them.
To sum it up I am grateful to have known such a wonderful woman and to have known her endless love. I am grateful to remember catching her snooping in my shopping bags to find her birthday present I bought her. I am grateful she dragged me to church in my great aunt's Charger with the vinyl seats in the 115 degree weather- and go eat at Bob's Big Boy afterwards. I am grateful she taught me what it means to take pride in one's work. I am grateful she always took my side when my mom got mad at me- no matter if I was wrong or not. I am grateful I took my children to see her and spend time with her (Sister referred to her as "my old grandma who lives in the desert.") I am grateful I have her thumbs so I will always have them to remind me of her.
Happy Birthday Grandma! I love you!