She lived happily at her house on the farm, perched high on the hill with the most beautiful view of the valley's rich farmland. The favorite part of her day was when the men came in for coffee and cookies. They came every day, even Sunday to feed the cows.
After she died, my husband quickly lost 10 pounds. It was from the loss of those always available conversation with his grandma, and the end to the endless supply of cookies and donuts and zweibach from his diet. She was a fabulous baker and cook. We were all drawn to her table by her cheerfulness and fantastic food.
The first few years I knew her, I was just in awe of how she could effortlessly put together a meal for however many people showed up to eat. Two or ten or twenty, there was enough food. I watched her, asked questions, and was usually answered with a smile and, "it's just what we do. They have to eat." She exemplified a servant's heart.
|Photo: Thread and Butter, Zwiebach recipe|
She taught me a lot about being a farmer's wife. Not only can I cook a roast that will knock your socks off because of her, but she also gave me valuable advice:
"Don't learn to drive the machinery. If you never learn, they won't be able to ask for your help."
She herself drove trucks, combines, tractors, whatever was needed, all while providing nourishing meals for the family and working a job as a nurse. For the most part, I've followed her advice, but I still happily help when I can on the farm -- just like she did.
She was a listening ear in those early years when I was trying to figure out how to be a farmer's wife. I went into marriage thinking that my new husband's occupation wouldn't effect our relationship. How I was wrong! Farming is a way of life, not a job. It's early mornings and late nights when the sun is shining, hard, demanding, subject to weather, rain or shine. Grumpily, I saw all the long hours I wasn't with my husband and the sacrifices I had to make, but Grandma was able to show me the positives. From the beautiful views from her living room I began to value the way of life too, the ground my husband was farming, three generations of love for the land.
I will always remember how she accepted me when I felt like a fish out of water on the farm. Or would that be a plant out of soil? Jeff was very special to her, all the family were treasured gifts to her, and those of us they chose to marry were immediately brought in with love. No "out-laws" here. Always a willing hug, an encouraging word, and her smile that lit up life.
She lived the positive. Positively lived it. You couldn't get her to say an unkind word about anyone or any situation. I remember when we were deciding on a baby name when I was expecting our first child, we told her we were considering "Evelyn" for a girl. Her normally smiling face turned sour for a moment and she said, "Anything but Evelyn." It took some coaxing, but she finally told the story of when she was a young girl and a friend from church (named Evelyn) came over, was rough and broke the face of grandma's treasured porcelain doll. It took a lot to get a negative review from Grandma. Anything but Evelyn.
Because of her attitude, happiness and joy were her reality. She was pleasant to her end days on this earth when cancer quickly stole her. Within three weeks we went from sharing in her home-cooked meals to standing beside her bed saying goodbye. She even radiated joy in her last moments.
|Emma talking with her great Grandma|
Today marks 6 years since she went to be with Jesus. I only knew her for a short while, yet she made an impression on me that will last my lifetime and I hope the lifetime of her great-grandchildren too. Emma was a delight to her and I wish she was able to meet Mandy Rose (named for her), Remington, and soon our next child. We tell them stories of her, what a fun person she was, that she radiated God's love, how much she treasured her family, her friends, and how joyful she was.
A legacy that lasts, Grandma had a full and meaningful life. I still miss her so much.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with joy.