My dad recently asked me to share a memory of my Grandma Goose (so named by my oldest cousin for her story telling prowess a la "mother goose"). i found it hard to untangle all the memories of my grandma and my grandpa who both passed away while i was still in school... i thought i'd share here in 2 posts some of what i was able to put together into words...
Memories of my Gramma Goose invoke that warm breakfasty feeling – hot coffee, cozy blankets & the smell of home made bread toasting in the oven. We were always the out of towners – travelling many miles to our grandparents house, while it seemed to me as a little child that everyone else had the advantage of grandparents year-round. My grandpa always used to remind me though, that i was the last baby to have come home to the farm, my parents having stayed a couple of weeks stint there around the time i was born. i remember as we’d be making our trek out to Saskatchewan, my dad blaring whatever theme song he had picked for that journey – one Christmas it was “i’ll be home for Christmas” & another trip it was Charlie Pride’s “Down on the Farm”. We’d pull into Gramma & Grandpa’s yard & stumble sleepily into Gramma’s kitchen... & instantly be enveloped in the warmth, smell, sounds & sights of the farm. Children tripping around sleepily, men playing their stringed instruments or crowded around an intense game of scrabble, women snuggling children, bustling around the kitchen, or preparing little sleeping nests for the wee ones... laughter and love.
Gramma would put on the toast - & we’d have a snack before heading off to bed.
i was a little scatterbrained thing. i wasn’t driven or full of ideas like some of the other children, who would organize huge games of kick the can or exploration for all the cousins. i found that i daydreamed a lot & as a result, i’d often feel like i didn’t know what was going on – or what i should be doing. i remember once, absently walking in on Gramma while she was changing & she never skipped a beat in that little crowded house, she said, “Come in!” & told me a story. i knew i was always welcome. There was always a crowd in that tiny little farm house. Her 6 children each bringing home their young families – but there were never “too many”. Gramma joked that she would put the first batch to bed, stack ‘em up against the wall & get the next batch down.
Later on, when they moved into town – into their “big double wide” – i wondered if things would ever feel the same. i remember showing up & smelling the toast & coffee - & even in my pre-adolescent mind, i realized that even through seasons of great change, there will be some small comforts that remain the same.
As a little daydreaming, people watcher – there are some scenes in which my Gramma plays a starring role that are forever etched in my memory... i remember getting into our vehicle to go back home – she was standing alone in the yard now to wave goodbye - & even though it had been a couple of years since my Grandpa had died, it still felt wrong to see her standing so tiny and solitary. My dad so tenderly held her in his arms and said, “Mom, you take care of yourself, ok?” & she responded, “i’ll feel much better once i deliver these twins...” patting her abdomen that was swollen with cancer.
Her humour wasn’t a pretence to hide fear – it was based on an understanding of Who held the future... Even as a young girl, this much was clear to me.
i remember when Gramma died & we made the trip again out to Saskatchewan for her funeral. Unrestrained grief – tiny church overflowing. We knew it was coming – but the loss of that tiny woman who jovially held the world on her capable shoulders seemed too great when we went in that tiny house, in those first sorrowful days.
It seemed appropriate that she had left a message for her children, “i’ll see you at the supper table”...
but i have an inkling...
they’ll be serving coffee... & home made bread – toasted in the oven.