June 05, 2014


Within the month, we will be great-grandparents! I am a little overwhelmed! Not by being a great grandparent but by the title.

I think back about my own great-grandmother and great-grandfather. Great-grandpa was a tall man, six foot five, just like my youngest son. He owned a room his was in but not so much by his size as by his grace and quiet strength. He exuded an Aura of Safe, if I can say that.

Great-grandma was four foot eleven. She was tiny and yet she was bigger than life. She would sit at the table with family playing poker with a little shot glass of whiskey near her pile of coins. Her poker face could win awards except when she looked at any of us kids. Her pride and love shined when she looked at us or talked to us.

She built her own sod home in a prairie of New Mexico. She cut the sod along-side Great-grandpa, and stacked it. She was a bootlegger and had a cave carved into the hill behind their home where they stored the liquor. She had a tatoo of Our Lady of Guadalupe on her forearm! Yes, my little great-grandmother sported a tat when even most men did not display art or lover's names on their bodies. Maybe she thought the tatoo went along with the little derringer she kept in her garter!

When I was a very young girl, I remember standing next to Great-grandma's chair eye-level with her hands. Her hands reminding me of the gnarled roots of an ancient tree. The thought that I wanted my hands to look just like hers when I was her age embedded itself in my mind. Those hands declared to the world "I have lived life to the fullest!"

Great-grandpa would get up early every morning and make a pot of coffee. When the coffee was ready, he would fill a cup of the hot liquid and take it to Great-grandma in bed.  They would sit in bed and talk about the day. They shared a great and deep love for each other and for family. I don't ever remember a harsh word escaping the lips of either one of them.

Great-grandma came to visit us in California when she was in her 90's. I remember her wearing high-top tennis shoes (Keds) and jumping from rock to rock with us kids in the surf.

Great-grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was about 3 or 4. The doctor told him that he had about 6 months to live. He told the doctor that dying was not on his agenda and lived for another 6 or 7 years.

Their lives and their stories were almost mystical and mythological!

Yes, The title of Great-grandparent is definitely going to be hard to live up to.

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