Sunday, April 17, 2016

Grandmother Pearl

When my mother gets mad at me, she often says, "You're just like your grandmother Pearl!"  Well, when she *used* to get mad at me; she doesn't so much anymore.  My dad's mother, Grandmother Pearl, lived into her 90s.  Her husband was killed in a car accident coming home from his job on the railroad in 1947, I think.  She died in 1982, so for many years she was a widow, and before that, she was alone much of the time while he worked.  She raised four boys pretty much by herself much of the time.

She was a fiercely independent woman.  I can remember an old reel to reel motion picture of her coming around the house with a shotgun crooked in her arm.  She didn't flinch at shooting any snake in the head; I'm quite sure she was a good aim.  She never learned to drive; she depended on relatives and friends to take her where she needed to go.

My grandmother was not the sweet type to cuddle and let us climb into her lap; at least, I certainly don't remember that.  I feared her, or perhaps it is more correct to say I had a healthy respect for her.  She was a fierce Scrabble player.  Because she did the crossword puzzle in the newspaper, she possessed a vast vocabulary.  I finally learned not to question her on words.  When I did, a smug look crept over her face as she slid the dictionary over to me.  Yep, she was invariably right.

I have thought a lot about her lately as I find myself becoming more like her in my "old age."  Today, I went to Lowe's and loaded 39 stones and the bags of lava rock for my DIY fire pit.  I overhead an "older" woman nearby tell her husband she wanted to stick around and see me push that cart.  She didn't think I could do it; she actually told him she knew I'd have to get help.  Well, in Grandmother Pearl fashion, I loaded each of them by myself, skinning my fingers several times during the course of the afternoon.  I pushed that flatbed cart to the check-out line.  The cashier asked if I needed help getting it to my truck; I said incredulously, "I pushed it up here myself, so I can get it to the truck myself."  People behind me snickered.  Well, I did.  When I got to my truck, a kind man next to me started helping me load them; I graciously took his help.  When I got home, I backed that truck up to the gate and unloaded them in my wheelbarrow.  The result is below:

I'm not sure I will ever carry a gun or kill a snake, but I am becoming more independent like Grandmother.  It becomes a necessity to do for myself what I am physically capable of doing.  I think she would be proud of me.