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July 02, 2005 - Saturday, 10:52 p.m.

Quiet Afternoon...

One hundred and four years ago today my Grandma B (Stella) was born. Sheís been gone now since 1982. She died on the 11th of July that year, just 9 days after her 81st birthday. My mother once put together a prayer list where she linked each of us with someone whoíd already passed on. She linked me with Grandma.

My grandma was only 36 the year her husband died. Lynn had a bad heart valve and the doctors put him on bed rest for the last few years of his life. He was to do nothing that excited him as they tried to protect his heart. My grandmother swore that they only Ďsleptí together once in that time and there was proof. My dadís youngest brother was born six months before Lynn died. My grandmother was left with four boys and one daughter to raise by herself. Her daughter, Lois, married shortly after that and Bob, my dadís oldest brother joined the service and was gone to World War II. Dale, Don (my dad) and John were 6, 3 and 6 months respectively when their dad died. Grandma never remarried and raised those boys alone for the most part. She is a kindred spirit for me. Through the years Iíve often wondered how she did it. How did she stand being alone all those years? I am sure it would have helped to have had her thoughts and memories to share. Iíve missed her a lot through the years.

1972 Ė Iíd spent the fall and winter babysitting and saving my money. That summer I bought a bus ticket and went to stay with my grandma for a week. I didnít really ever spend much time alone with her, so that was a special trip. I donít recall all that we did. I do remember wandering with her downtown in Fargo into antique shops and bookstores. That summer she taught me how to crochet. My own mother was left handed and I just couldnít seem to learn from her. I started a blanket. The center was made from the yarn my grandma gave me and those very stitches I did with her sitting next to me. It ended up being a giant granny square, afghan size. It lies in the corner of my room. The center stitches are tight and belabored and you can see how my tension got better over time. To this day I crochet. I find great peace in the quiet movement.

I remember we had toast and jam almost every morning for breakfast. Grandma had raspberry jam. I loved it! To this day itís the only jam I buy. My mother rarely bought it and now I realize that its more expensive than strawberry or grape.

Itís amazing how much of our life is molded by the people that we love. SO much of what I love and enjoy in life came into my life through my grandmaís and parents. Other great joys in my life I adopted as different people came into my life. Lee gave me the joy of hiking and absorbing natureís beauties; Gary gave me my boys, Phil gave me my joy of listening to jazz and blues and just by being in my life has helped me to become much braver. My father gave me photography and working with my hands, my Grandma S. gardening, my Grandma B. crocheting, my mother reading, cooking and the insight to see people for who they are inside. Our lives would be pretty dull without the input and influence of the people we love.

I spent the afternoon with my family. It was lovely. I sat outside for a while this afternoon on the deck facing Pikeís Peak. It was raining, lightening and thundering. The eaves from the house kept me pretty dry. It was wonderful. Itís smelled divine and was so incredibly peaceful. I said a couple prayers and then leaned back and slept for a while in the chair. I am still tired and am getting ready to crawl into bed already.

Iím missing Phil today and tonight. Hoping for sweet dreams. M.

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