Great Grandma, Mommy, and Emily by amandacfisher.

 

I lost my Grandmother today.  She passed away this afternoon from…well…”old age”.   She was one of the toughest women I had the pleasure of knowing.  She only had 2 grandchildren, my sister, and I, sometimes I felt like her daughter.   I miss her voice, but will never forget her spirit – it feels stronger than ever in my heart now. 

The greatest thing about Grandma’s in your life is that you know that no matter what happened in your day there is always someone that is thrilled to hear from you.  Sometimes waiting by the phone for you.  There is always someone that will bake you cookies…and send you packages…even when you’re over 30.  Always someone to listen to every word you say.  What is it that is so special about the Grandparent/Grandchild relationship? Stength.  Security.  Courage. 

Grandma may have been physically frail for decades, but she never acted like it.  Her life motto:  “WORK HARD!”  Despite debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis she refused to stop walking.  “YOU GOTTA USE IT OR LOOSE IT,” she’d say, defying doctors orders for a wheelchair.  This is the woman that has been chased up rooftops by bears, and even hit by a steam roller while in her car.  She always survived to tell the story of her adventure with a smirk of defiance and a giggle at the end.  That’s what makes this passing tough to stomach, it just seemed like she could always defy the odds.  I’m happy for her now though that she has a new body in heaven…one that can finally keep up with her energy and spirit. 

Grandma was famous the things that came out of her mouth…her “sayings” and “mispronunciations.”  For example, she’d call me and tell me to quick turn on “C-N-N-N”…she mean CNN the news channel.  She loved to make guacamole, which when she said it, it rhymed with “whack a mole”…and whenever she thought something was fancy she’d say it was “so fab-i-lus”.  The thing is because she was such a dominant woman, we all just went along with her pronunciations and would say it that way too when we were around her.  You didn’t dare correct her.  If you tried, she wouldn’t pay any attention to you.  

One of my favorite stories about her determination comes from a phone call she made to us accidentally.  Dad had programmed her phone with “one touch dialing” to make it easier for her to use it.  Her hands had just gotten so bad.  So she could punch one number to talk to us.  Our number happened to be right next to the number for Mayo Clinic.  And one day she called, my husband Greg answered,

Grandma:   IS THIS MAYO CLINIC?
Greg:  Grandma?
Grandma:  Greg?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT MAYO CLINIC? 
She called back 2 more times looking for Mayo.  You just never could tell Grandma she was wrong. 

She was also known for her “sayings”.  Aureliaisms if you will. For example whenever you complained about a tough day, she would tell you, “Remember F.I.D.O…Forget It and Drive On.”  She learned that saying in her “55 Alive” Driving Safety class for Senior Citizens, but she applied it to life.  I use that saying all the time.  She drilled in my head to “read your bible every day”.  She’s say it wagging her index finger at me.  She’s right.  I think she actually kept a bible in the bathroom to help keep her “regular” reading.  🙂

She had such a giant impact on my life.  Her mind and spirit was always iron clad, yet her body was always so frail.  Never weighing more than 110 pounds, she had struggled with rheumatoid arthritis since her 30s.  She had crippled hands and feet, but could still cook dinner for 20 people at a moments notice. 

As a child I remember her always telling me to “Eat Your Meat” (another Aureliaism).  Meat was a big deal at her table.  I swear she spent about 13 hours a day in her kitchen.  A normal breakfast was coffee cake, elk sausage (Grandpa was a hunter), quiche with sausage and eggs, and lots of flavored Gevalia coffee.  We never had a bowl of cereal at Grandma’s house.  I don’t think she believed in it. 

Lunch was usually eaten “on the trail” during a hiking trip.  She would have sent a customized sandwich for each of us labeled with our name scribbled on a piece of scratch paper, which only Dad, Meaghan, or I could decipher.  Her crippled hands made it so hard for her to write, but she did it anyway.  She’d also send dessert of course; brownies and her famous “Incredibles” nestled in a check box with a rubber band around it.  She must have written hundreds of checks a month for as many check boxes full of treats that she’d give away. 

Dinner at Grandma’s vinyl lined table would consist of at least 3 main dishes including elk or buffalo meat, numerous side dishes, and always at least 3 desserts.  A Cake.  A Pie.  And Incredibles.  OH!  And the optional Moose Trax ice cream on the side.  She must have cooked 3 desserts a day for life…all with a hint of coconut.  Even though my sister and I share the same birthdate (born on the same day 3 years apart), Grandma made each of us our own cake of our own choosing.  I always chose German Chocolate…with coconut. 

As an adult our relationship grew deeper than food and more about faith.  She forever encouraged me to pray and read my bible.  It stuck.  She still teased be about food though.  I remember being newly married and working late until 7pm because of my radio show.  My husband, Greg, got home from work hours before me.  Grandma would chastise me for not having meat in the crock-pot waiting for my husband.  “You gotta feed those men!”  She’d say.  She’s right.  That’s the way to keep your man coming straight home from work.  Warm meat and Incredibles.

Beyond her casseroles at potlucks and check boxes full of cookies in the mail though, was her persistant commitment to prayer and reading the Bible.  When I think of Grandma, this verse sticks in my head:

“Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

Jesus (and Grandma) tells us to persist in pursuing God.  People often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclue that God doesn’t exist or He doesn’t listen.  But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow through.  Jesus promises that we will be rewarded…as grandma is being rewarded right now. 

I imagine her now in heaven cooking in a beautiful kitchen for a waiting table full of family and friends.  Save me a seat Grandma.

To honor her memory Grandma would want you to persist in lifre and in knowing God. 

“Word Hard”
“You gotta use it or loose it.”
“FIDO.  Forget it and Drive on”
“Pray and Read your bible every day.”

Also, make sure you have warm meat in the corkpot for your man and plenty of dessert for your guests.

We’d love it if you would leave your thougths and memories about our beloved Grandma Aurelia Floyd here by adding a comment.

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