Monday, April 4, 2011

#9 Remember Where You Came From

I love my heritage. I can't imagine coming from more amazing people. I count myself fortunate that I had close relationships with my grandparents even though I come from a large family. I always felt that I was something special to them. They lived astounding lives. So in honor of them I will share a few of my memories of them.

My paternal grandmother was an especially wonderful story teller. She told me how it was like to live before electricity came to her town, and how she played the piano at a dance hall for a silver dollar a night. She could make a piano dance. She knew every ragtime, boogie woogie, hymn and classical piece possibly written for piano. She would wake at the crack of dawn everyday to practice the piano, and we never left her house without her sitting down to play something. Her husband, my grandfather, was equally amazing. His sense of humor was infectious to everyone including my grandma, who was often the brunt of the joke.

I never met my maternal grandma. She left this world at the young age of 43 when my mom was just entering her teenage years. I am grateful for the stories and the photos that have been passed on to me, but more grateful that I met her mother when I was eight years old. She lived several states away, and we planned a long awaited trip to visit her on her farm. Amazingly she did not enjoy a single modern luxury besides electricity. No running water, no flushing toilet, not even a machine washer or dryer. This baffled my young mind having never used an outhouse except in the case of camping. Yet she was energetic, moving about her mundane chores with satisfaction. She said once that it was a blessing to be poor in the country, and that she always felt sorry for the poor that lived in the city with only dirty sidewalks and streets to look at.

My maternal grandpa is the only one of my grandparents still alive, and he is almost 90. At 89 he is still active, energetic, and lucid. I was able to talk with him the other day and he reminded me that the most important things in life are free, yet we need to work the hardest at those things. Things such as family, character, and love. He is very strong in his faith, and reminds me to be strong in mine.

As I look at my heritage I feel as though I may be one of the luckiest people in the world. Thank you to all my grandparents for wise, kind, prudent lives; lives that I hope I can emulate.

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