My first 45 years have been blessed by some strong and lovely grandmothers. Not only did they have fabulous names like Ferol (rhymes with pearl), Louise, and Bernadine, but they were examples of fortitude, honest beauty and class that is too-seldom sought by women today. These farm girls were the real deal, and I'm better for having had their influence in my life.
Bernadine Granneman, my last grandparent, passed away yesterday. She was 92-years-old, had Parkinson's disease and other awful ailments that had taken her quality of life, and was no longer able to eat. We were praying for a peaceful and painless end to her suffering and to get her into the glorious heavenly body promised in Scripture.
Grandma B was good to me from the minute I got added to her family and never made me feel like the step-kid that I was. When I met her, she had a small home in Oelwein, Iowa, that only had one bathroom. Grandma had a great collection of Archie comics in her attic, but you could only access the attic by a drop-down staircase in that bathroom. I have fond and funny memories of climbing those steps to read about Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica, telling whoever wanted to use the bathroom to just close the stairs and open them back up when they were done doing their business.
Grandma always put out a delicious spread of Christmas cookies and other homemade treats on card tables set up right when you walked in to her little home. My favorite were the peanut butter balls, known as Buckeyes in the Midwest. That table of goodies, coupled with her enveloping hugs and kind eyes, made you feel safe and welcome the minute you stepped in to her small home. I guess that's something else I learned from Grandma B, to be hospitable. Be hospitable to the new stepkids, to the stray friends and surprise boyfriends, to the people you didn't know would be eating your Buckeyes, but who showed up and could really use a hug and a peanut butter ball.
Love you, Grandma B.