Grandmother

Yesterday, Sunday May 11th, Mothers’ Day, I decided to give my Grandmother (on my father’s side of the family) a call.  I haven’t talked to her, besides receiving a letter she sent me, since Christmas.  Yesterday I spent over an hour on the phone with her.  It was great. 

My grandmother is a very special person.  Some (my family included) are inclined to say that she is a bit crazy, and in fact she very well may be.  She is certainly eccentric what with her love of acquiring random (and generally useless) knickknacks of all sorts, her opinions on every matter under the sun, and her strange faith yet deep criticism for religion.  But I think it is her weirdness that makes me love her even more.  My grandmother and I maintain a very special relationship. 

She moved to Vermont from Delaware the summer that I graduated from high school.  Her husband (my grandfather) had passed away a few years before.  She had long wanted to move to Vermont (supposedly ever since my father went to college there, at Johnson State College, in the seventies).  With the death of my Grandfather I think my grandmother finally put her foot down and said it was time to go.  Her moving to Vermont in many ways was kind of bitter sweet for everyone.  She had lived in Delaware for fifty years and had many friends, family, and just general connections to the area.  Further, the house that she lived in, and that my father and uncles had grown up in, was an awesome place.  I loved getting to go visit there.  So when it was sold it felt like a real passing (I feel very much the same way about my grandfather’s — on my mother’s side — farm in Hyde Park, Vermont.  I hate to see it sold and lost to the family).  But the upside was that my grandmother was going to be living close.

Throughout my college years I spent a lot of time with my grandmother whenever I was home for a weekend or on a break.  In fact during my long winter breaks freshman and sophomore year (the whole month of January), when I wasn’t hanging out with friends or working, I spent most of my time over at my grandmother’s new house just sitting and talking and helping her do stuff around the house (shoveling her driveway, vacuuming, organizing in the basement, etc).  My grandmother was kind of a go-to person for me during my college years.  Especially in the first couple years as my relationship with my parents had been very strained (I’d gotten myself into some legal trouble due to underage drinking, I had been slacking on getting jobs, and all around I thought I knew a lot more than I probably did).  When I felt like I was having a hard time talking or communicating with my parents my grandmother was there.  And the thing is she didn’t completely side with me.  She could, and still can, be brutally honest.  I think I needed that.

My grandmother is a storyteller.  I think a lot of my dad’s love, and my own, of telling stories comes from her.  I have heard tons of them, some many times over, and yet always enjoy them.  I am not certain the amount of fact in them but that isn’t what matters, what matters is that to my grandmother they are real.  What is fact?  What is truth?  It is what we want it to be.  I would like to compile all my grandmother’s stories and write a book about her life someday because it is interesting and real in its own way.

My grandmother is a person of shocking faith, which is something that both amazes and somewhat scares me.  She may be quick to be critical of religion as a whole but she is also so deep in her own beliefs and that it is utterly amazing.  I think my grandmother has shown me that faith doesn’t have to be all about believing in God and acting the way any single religion or ideology tells you you have to act.  For my grandmother faith is more than anything about believing in yourself and that what you do in this life is important and real in its own way.  That is a good philosophy as far as I’m concerned.

When I talked to her yesterday we chatted some about how I was liking living in South Carolina and my job and shit like that.  Then we got on to talking about the world wars, and Israel, and terrorism, and all the strife in the world.  We ended talking about my brother and how we are both very proud of him and what he has been accomplishing lately.  It was a good long talk that I think I really needed.  Maybe it wasn’t about anything in specific, and often times my talks with my grandmother aren’t, but it was still good.

Thanks Grandmom, I love you.

~ by Nathaniel on May 12, 2008.

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