Just the other day...I sat up on the kitchen counter at my Grandma's house, as proud as I could be that she was letting me "cream" the mashed potatoes with the hand-held electric mixer. She would always cook the same meal when she knew I'd be coming...fried chicken legs, homemade mashed potatoes, and corn. She did it out of pure love for me, and I could taste it!
Many of my favorite and most vivid childhood memories took place in that tiny white house with the hydrangea bushes in front. It was a tiny house that held a giant of a woman, that's for sure. She was giant not in her stature, but in her character and heart...in the things that matter most.
I'll never understand how she did it, but she prepared gigantic meals in her small galley kitchen. She would cook a few different meats and enough veggies for an army! Grandma would always have each grandchild's favorite food right near where she knew that person would sit. And just as you were sure you had eaten way too much, she'd say, "Now, who's ready for dessert?" Ah, mealtimes were the best at Grandma's house! She slaved for hours in her miniscule kitchen and never, ever complained.
On cold nights when I stayed over at G-ma's (as we called her sometimes), she would go in the bedroom and turn on the electric blanket so that it would be toasty warm when we were ready to hop in the bed. I loved that so much! My granddaddy had gone to be with Jesus when I was only four years old, but even before he passed, he was kicked out of his own bed when I came to stay. I remember those sweet nights in G-ma's bed because she would talk for just as long as I wanted to talk. "Aren't you sleepy?" she would ask. "No, not yet"...and I'd keep on talking and she would too. I could ask Grandma about anything, or tell her about anything, and she never once made me feel silly. She would listen all night and spill out all of her wisdom, and in turn, I grew some too.
The conversations didn't end there, no way! At some point, if the weather was even remotely comfortable, whoever was at Grandma's house would end up on her back porch. I can still hear the wooden screen door creaking as we would walk outside. Everyone would pull out a folding chair (the metal frame kind with the webbing on it) and commence to jibber-jabberin' about all the happenings and goings on of our small southern town. Every once in a while there might be a lull in the conversation, especially when the church bells started ringing out a hymn. We'd listen, maybe even hum along a bit, and then we would go right back to talkin'. My soul, I would give just about anything to get to sit out on that back porch with my G-ma just one more time! Oh, the stories we would tell and the laughs we would have.
Whenever we used to talk about Granddaddy, Grandma would always get teary-eyed and she would stare off a little, partly reminising, partly trying to keep her composure. Then, she would always, always say, "You know, you never get over missin' somebody." Truth indeed. Eight years have passed since my sweet grandmother went to be with the Lord, and I still miss her to pieces. I often wonder what she would think of my three little girls, and then I wonder what they would think of her. I have a feeling they would be mutually fond of one another!
Looking back, I know G-ma taught me many things, but I think the few characteristics that stick out the most are: love of God, self-sacrifice, unconditional love, humility, family pride, the art of conversation, and the power of togetherness. My grandmother was never rushed and never in a hurry. She would let me plunder in her purse all during church if I wanted. She would grab a jar, take me outside, and let me chase lightening bugs until the sun went down. She would take me on long walks near her house. She spent hours with me, just because of love.
You see, when I talk about leaving a legacy, it's my grandmother that comes to mind the most. She left an indelible mark on my life, the kind that is seared so deep, oceans of time could not remove it. She's proof to me that there's untold power in the stories we leave behind, the stories of our lives that will be told for generations to come. It's up to us to slow down, take a look around us, and not just let the moments pass us by...because while we're not lookin'...
those moments become our legacy!
For His glory,