On Grandparents Day

Grandma Smith and Grandma June with me and Little Sir.

Grandma Smith and Grandma June with me and Little Sir.

Today is Grandparents Day.

I have been richly blessed in the Grandparent department. Here are just a few memories:

Great Great Grandma Ross– We called her Ma. She had snow white hair and the thickest blackest eyebrows I have ever seen. Indomitable is usually thought to be intimidating, but she was indomitable in a patient, loving way. She was tiny in person, and giant in spirit.

Great Grandma Swanson– She knew the names of every flower, tree, even rocks. She loved to travel and socialize. She also said she didn’t drink, but she’d always have “just a sip” of what someone else was having. She was a lady of steel with plenty of lace and silk.

Great Grandpa Swanson– He immigrated from Sweden. He was a fantastic gardener and taught me how to gather seeds from flowers. He was ornery and a sweetheart. He’d trip you with his cane. Give you a 50-cent piece. One time, I caught a toad and wanted to keep it as a pet. He convinced me to let it live in his garden and every visit he’d tell me about “my toad” and show me where he’d seen it last.

Grandpa Smith– He was one of those larger than life kind of men. Pilot, policeman, commercial fisherman, truck driver, business owner. He could tinker with anything and fix it. He was funny and boisterous. He had gall bladder surgery and told me the scar was where a shark got him. He’d cannonball into the pool like a teenager. He taught me to tie my shoe. Fish. Drive. Sail. If I ever overestimate my ability to build it or figure it out or haul home a piece of junk because I can “do something with it”, that is what I got from Grandpa Smith.

Grandma Smith– Quiet and kind. But- by no means- meek. When another child was bullying me, she threatened to spank him with a flyswatter (she had it with her). We wanted to watch the sunset one evening and so she and I climbed up on the roof of the shed to get the best view. When asked to imagine my happy place, it is with Grandma Smith. Even now, if I need comforting, it is Grandma Smith I need it from.

Grandma June– When I think of the word brash, I think it sounds bold but occasionally just “too much”. This is Grandma June. Gregarious, but occasionally just “too much.” She speaks her mind, she’s a hoot. She hosted huge dinners and wore lovely clothes. She was generous (to a fault). She bought herself jewelry. She talked about sex. Alzheimers is stealing her memories now, but it won’t get mine.

Grandpa Leo– Leo Schroeder loved dogs, smoking, hunting. And me. I don’t know in which order, but I do know I was loved and that is vital for a kid with a life like mine. He told good stories. He wrote some too. When people say his was the “Greatest Generation”, I believe them because of men like my Grandpa Leo.

I also had two other sets of Great Grandparents! Great Grandpa and Grandma Smith. And Great Grandma and Grandpa Harmon.

Blessed I tell you! Blessed! Blessed with the sheer abundance of their talent, strength, goodness and love. And grateful for every single bit of it and every single one of them.