"Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting."
My grandmother lived to be 104 years old. She managed to experience three different centuries, born in the 1800s and passing away in 2001. Today would have been her 115th year of celebrating her birth. My grandmother's life was rich with experiences I can only imagine. I used to love to listen to her revisit one of her many cherished memories. Her family was the first in their Iowa town to own a car. She spent much of her adult life as a missionary in South America. I will never forget her words to me on her one hundredth birthday, "I still feel like a young girl on the inside." Perhaps that was her secret for her long life, lived out so well.
Even though her life was full of adventures into the unknown, my fondest memories of her were birthed in her kitchen. My grandmother loved to cook and bake. She managed to make every meal a sacred feast. Her humble home shouted simplicity, and her kitchen was no exception. I remember how hard she resisted the idea of a microwave oven. The utensils and pans she used to create her homemade treasures were decades old. The tiny space she worked in never dampened her passion for making her many culinary delights. She managed to work with her very limited counterspace to produce a dining table covered in tasty dishes I can only dream of concocting. Her garage was used as a pantry, housing her many jars of homemade jams, jellies, apple butters, chili sauces, and relishes. She made a pomegranite jelly that no one has ever held a candle to. What I would give for a jar! The truth is that I never ate a meal in her home that I didn't love.
What a beautiful example she was of using her gifts and talents to bless others. For everyone who walked through her door knew she would share her heart through a meal prepared with loving care.
I miss my grandma, and not just because she was my favorite chef and baker! She was a dear, kind, giving woman who led a refreshingly simple and beautiful life. Her talents were not limited to the kitchen. Her hands could produce lovely hand-stitched quilts, two of which I proudly display in our home. Because of her gift with a needle and thread, my Barbie dolls were the best dressed dolls handsdown.
My grandmother was also very gifted in mathematics. She followed the stock market like a hawk, not because of investments, but because she was intrigued by it. She had a keen sense of what stocks would do well and which ones to avoid. She was also musically gifted. She played the piano as well as the organ, a gift she purchased for her church. Her garden stood out in her neighborhood as one of the prettiest. Her table was always adorned with a floral arrangement she grew herself.
My life is richer because of my grandmother. Her example of a life well lived inspires me to this day to learn and grow and stretch myself, and be the best I can be. I can only hope that my own grandchildren will one day say the same about me.
"There's no place like home except Grandma's."