It’s funny how we remember the oddest things growing up. I wish I had a mind like a steel trap, alas that’s not the case. I guess we all remember odd bits and pieces; the weirdest things that stick in our minds. Here are just a few more of the things that I remember about my grandmother that made her so special and unique.
I can remember sitting on that square-shaped stool, fidgeting and squirming while she cut my hair. But she was always very patient and careful, trying to do an expert job with an old pair of scissors and an old black clipper. She used to cut all the boys` hair. I always thought that she took special care when she cut mine, but I don’t know that; it was just in my mind. But it did make me feel special.
I remember looking forward to Thanksgiving and other holidays. My grandmother always made rice pudding, rice cooked just right with an ample smattering of raisins, just the right amount of evaporated milk and cinnamon on top. She made the best rice pudding there ever was or ever will be. I can still taste that after all these years and I miss it and her very much.
As she grew older, she made the weirdest noises and never knew she was making them. Something would come out of her mouth like….hhhmmmm. But unfortunately, there’s no way I could duplicate that sound here. And she would always insist that she never did that. Sometimes she had an odd way of talking, rather British in a way; I guess that was just the way she was raised. She’d say things like “metal bottle”, pronouncing her T`s very distinctly. Say those two words to yourself emphasizing the T`s and you’ll see what I mean.
I remember one time she had an operation, probably cataracts, but I forget now. When she came out of the hospital, I gave her a new nickname. I called her “old squinky eye”. Of course that doesn’t make any sense; it was just a pet name I had for her and I’m sure she knew how much I loved her when I said it. As you can see, I also called her Gramzer and who knows where I got that from, probably just from my head. I made it up.
Thinking about it, I guess there are a lot of things that I remember, but I’m going to tell you about one final thing. One thing that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life, as long as I live. And that was the day (August 29, 1999) that my mother called me and told me that my Gramzer had just died on her living room floor while asking my mother for a tissue. She had just gotten off the phone talking with my mother and of course now I don’t remember all the fine points. A few days later, we all went to church. My grandmother was there, upfront, by herself, lying in a fancy wooden box, some people call it a casket. The minister, Dan, stood right next to her with his hand resting on that box, trying his best to talk about my grandmother with tears running down his cheeks. We all sang In the Garden that day. That was my grandmother’s favorite song; I’m sure many of you know it.
Anyway, the Spirit moved me that day and I’m usually rather quiet, at least I was back then. When we all had a chance to speak, I turned around and faced the congregation while still in my seat. I thought about what to say just for a few seconds; I wanted to say something that I thought would be meaningful. This is what I said. I said that my Gramzer was lying there up front in that box and the saddest thing for me was that I hadn’t taken the time to call her on the phone to tell her that I loved her within the last week or so… I told the congregation that they should consider telling their loved ones just that and frequently because you never know what might happen, after all, my Gramzer was lying up there in that wooden box and I would never see her again.
So those are just a few of my ramblings, my fondest memories of my Gramzer, Laura Mae Babcock. May the Lord Jesus be with her forever and I pray that I will see her someday in my Father’s house.