I am traveling on business to Tahoe and Reno for a housing conference Sunday through Tuesday. Watching the water flow down the Truckee River was impressive on the drive up from Sacramento today. I am staying in a nice cabin outside of Tahoe that has no Internet access or television. However I did find a faint Wi-Fi signal out here from a neighbor's house that I am posting from. It is a great world.
As some readers to this blog will recall, my wife and I are expecting our first child, Catherine, at the end of July. My mom and a friend of hers threw a shower for my wife on Saturday with friends and family in attendance, including my 92 year old grandmother on my dad's side of the family, who is a special lady.
When I stopped to pick up my wife she showed me some of the thoughtful gifts that we had been given for our precious Catherine (who kicks up a storm in my petite wife's belly, to my delight). My wife handed me a bag with a small baby blanket tucked inside, hand knitted in soft pink, blue and white. She broke down in tears and so did I. The gift was from my other grandmother, my mom's mother, who left us to be with her Maker over 5 years ago. In the short time my wife knew her, they had developed a special relationship.
Even though my grandmother could not be there in person, her presence and love was felt in the kind act of preparing for her great-grandchild even past her life here on earth. I thought that I would share something of my grandmother, who was born in Manchester, England and came to America with her parents. Her family was of humble means, but she was always proud of the fact that they came to America without having to go through Ellis Island in a "cattle processional." I wish I would have asked her more what she meant. She taught me the love of a nice cup of tea, of enduring cancer and pain with class and dignity. She was a strong Englishwoman who would not complain to others about anything she would suffer through.
Two stories I will share that speak to her character. She and her husband were very involved with a large Los Angeles church and would often have missionaries come and visit. One day a missionary couple was without a good deal of extra clothes and my grandfather decided to "give" my grandmother's wardrobe away to this family. Rather than complain (this is her version), she sat down and knitted a whole new wardrobe for herself. The British stiff upper lip at play.
The second story in her later years, when she could no longer get around, but was able to continue to knit. My grandmother, for over 7 years, knitted baby caps and scarves and blankets, over 400 at least, for Marine families who gave birth in local hospitals around Camp Pendleton in the 1990s. She never met the families, but she would dutifully knit each one for the tiny newborns.
Here is to you, Grandmother. You are missed and your gift is adored. With much love, your grandson Bill and great-granddaughter Catherine. You are certainly an Englishwoman worthy!