She hated school, stoically endured the music at church, and loved Chevy Chase. She climbed on a chair to retrieve items from the upper cabinet long after her arthritic knees were up to such activity. She drove a car well past the time when it was safe for the rest of humanity to encounter her on the road. She loved potato chips and chocolate-covered marshmallows and drank only whole milk.
She was a nurse by training, a biblical scholar by choice, and the matriarch of a large brood of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She claimed to despise the sun, sand, and water, but was always game for a trip to the beach. She drank so much coffee I don’t know how she ever slept. She never understood sports, which she always referred to as “playing ball” with more than a small amount of disdain.
She never owned a pair of jeans or tennis shoes and reluctantly capitulated to wearing wool slacks on the coldest of winter days. She maintained a wardrobe of vibrant blues, greens, and roses that matched her youthful demeanor well into her eighties and beyond. She refused to lock the door of her home and rarely took advantage of the intercom system allowing her to screen visitors. She fussed and scolded as we all acquired cell phones, adding to the long list of numbers, written in pencil, that she kept by her old rotary dial phone.
My grandmother had beautiful hair that turned from reddish-blonde to white as she aged. Heavy and thick, it was forever in need of being cut and thinned. The lady who fixed her hair for years graciously made house calls after grandma couldn’t manage a trip to the salon. Shortly before she died, her hair grown out and a little wild, she responded to my mother’s polite inquiry as to whether she was getting her hair done that week. Without missing a beat, grandma replied, “It’s either that, or I’m going to need a dog collar.”
Two months later, having suffered a series of small strokes, Grandma moved peacefully into eternal life, neatly coiffed, the dog collar never having been acquired.