Friday, October 17, 2014

Remembering My Grandmother

I believe the good Lord creates each and every one of us with a filter to help us keep our mouths from blurting out every single thought that comes out of our brains.  This filter is very helpful because it prevents very awkward situations from occurring time and time and time again.  I am convinced my grandmother's filter was corrupted.  The thoughts just rolled right on out without anything impeding them.

It made for more than a few awkward and humorous situations.

For instance, Grandma was never one to accept new technology on her own.  She was quite content to deal with what she knew.  A big part of this was her frugality.  If she could do without something, she would.  Why confuse matters with the latest and greatest?  Even if things could make her life easier.

Take the time Grandma finally got a microwave.  She never, and I mean NEVER wanted a microwave.  "Why do I want a microwave?  I don't need a microwave.  Don't y'all ever get me a microwave.  I don't need no (explicative) microwave."  Did I say she didn't want a microwave?

Well, the rest of us had kept up with the times, and we knew the value of a microwave.  My parents especially were tired of going over to Grandma's house to cook and heat up things and dealing with the inconvenience of not having a microwave.  Therefore, for Christmas, sometime in the late '90s, my folks bought Grandma a microwave.  They wrapped it up and put it underneath the tree.

Grandma always opened her gifts last (partially because we all wanted to hear what she was going to say.  You know, the whole lack of filter and everything.).  On this occasion, we were not disappointed.  We gave her the box, and immediately she started ranting, "This better not be a microwave.  I don't need no (explicative) microwave."

She removed the wrapper.

"It's a (explicative) microwave.  You know, you just need to take that back.  I'll never use it.  You just need to take that back!!!"

Awkward and humorous.

The reaction was typical and expected.  Water flowed off the duck's back, and the microwave was set up in the kitchen over the loud objections.  A few weeks passed.  A month or so, and Grandma was using that microwave like there was no tomorrow.  About three weeks ago, her microwave went kaput, and she demanded a new one.  It had become indispensable.   Like  her cordless telephone.  And her satellite television.  And a host of other things that she found helpful even though she had ranted against them previously.

Sometimes, it took Grandma some time--and a little effort on behalf of her family to get her there, but she eventually did.

But one thing we never had to "get her convinced of" was the need to spoil her grandchildren.  Grandma exceeded in that arena.  I personally was the grand recipient of a lot of spoiling.  I will not speak for my sister or my cousins at this point, but I will damn sure let you know, she spoiled the crap out of me.

One story highlights this marvelously.  In my early teen years, I was enamored with Transformers.  I owned several toys (and still have them).  One week, Eckerd Drugs was having a sale on the Insectobots.  I wanted them, and Grandma was keeping my sister and I.  Grandma promised we could take a trip into town, and she would get them for me.  I was going to hold her to her promise.

There was just one problem.  Grandpa had parked his pickup behind Grandma's car.  We couldn't fit in the pickup, so it needed to be moved.  Here the problem manifested itself: the truck's battery was dead.  Disappointment rose mightily.  I wanted those Transformers--badly.  (Selfish, sure.  I know better now.)

"We could push the truck out of the way," I suggested.

So, my 60+ year old grandmother, my sister, and I pushed the truck out of the way to go get two little toys which I thought were such a big deal back in those days.  I don't know how many of your grandmothers ever pushed a pickup truck out of the way to take you to town, but mine did.

Such was her nature of generosity.

Grandma showed that forth in many other ways.  For four summers, I worked at the Banquete Grain Co-op.  My parents had bought me microwave meals to eat for lunch and supper, but those things must have looked unappetizing to my grandmother.  Every evening, she cooked extra and packed me a home cooked meal for my day.  She had breakfast ready for me when I awoke.  There was a snack in the evening when I got off work.  She washed my clothes when I stayed, and we would visit in the evenings.

She took care of me when I worked just like she took care of her husband and her kids growing up.  Grandma sacrificed time and again so that her kids and grandkids could have.  It was her nature.

It's not surprising.  She chose Proverbs 31:10-29 to be read at her funeral:

10 A capable wife who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
   and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
   and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
   she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
   and provides food for her household
   and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
   and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
   Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
   and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
   and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
   for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings;
   her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
   taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
   she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
   and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
   and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her happy;
   her husband too, and he praises her:
29 ‘Many women have done excellently,
   but you surpass them all.’ 

As this passage was read this Monday, I saw many reflections of what my grandmother tried to do.  If indeed my grandmother held this in her heart (which I expect she did), then it is little wonder she did many of the things she did.  Despite some of the off the wall things that came out of her mouth, her actions showed beyond the shadow of a doubt a woman full of kindness, compassion, and love--especially love of her family.

It all flowed from a deep abiding faith.  A faith which was not blatant and in your face, but that was lived out.  A faith which was rarely talked about, but was central to her life.

My sister informed me that my Grandma had final approval of her obituary.  When Grandma was shown the first draft, she nodded rather approvingly, but then added, "It's okay, but where is my baptism date and my confirmation date?"  Two simple items--left out by many in these times, but items of vast value and importance to my grandmother.  Others may leave them out, but she would have them in her obituary.   She was a child of God, by God, and that was the most important thing of all.

She entered into the fullness of that childhood at around 6 o'clock Friday, October 10, 2014.  The promises of God to her were made complete.

Thanks be to God for my Grandma: Estella Kieshnick Haug.  Until that day when we meet again...


Laura said...


Peggy said...

A funny and beautiful tribute to your grandmother.