When I was a little girl, I remember thinking it was very strange that my Grandma Mary drank beer. She was the only woman I’d ever seen pop open a cold one on a hot day. Maybe it was because she was old or because she had some German blood in her—I didn’t know, but I was aware that she was different from other women in my life. If the beer drinking wasn’t odd enough to my innocent 7-year old self, there was the issue of her snoring. She’d doze off on the couch and start naso-choking like nobody’s business—something, at the time, I thought only men could do.
Despite her sometimes masculine-seeming behavior, she was a Lady to the nth degree. Always with the matching earrings, necklace, shoes and bag, she sported carefully crafted ensembles every day of the week. When she had to go into a nursing home, she still insisted on wearing lipstick, even if she was spending the day in her jammies.
Grandma always had something to say. About everything. She loved American Idol. She even watched the first season or two of LOST, and always wanted to dish about the characters when I saw her. She enjoyed weighing in on her grandkids’ fashion and hairstyle choices. Giving her two cents about who we were dating. Commending us on our growth spurts with complements like, “Melissa, you’re getting such a nice round bottom on you.”
She was feisty, opinionated and a complete crack up.
Grandma Mary died a year ago today. Sometimes when I’m cruising around in the Prius, I pretend that she and Grandma Bette are sitting in the backseat, chattering away like they used to, making dirty jokes and talking about common friends in the area.
Although my mailbox no longer receives her letters and “little ditties,” as she liked to call her poems, I feel like her love of writing is still with me. My family thinks I inherited some of my passion from her. So today I use it to punch out a post in her honor. I’m sure she’s helping me tap the keys right now, and she just might have a cold beer in her hand.