Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma! I wish you were here with us to celebrate. We would have had one heck of a party. I don't know how we would have topped the Hawaiian luau, but we would have tried.
I hope you know that you were always my hero. I remember when you became Mr. Allen's secretary. We were all so excited. In fact, one school project shortly thereafter was writing about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be a secretary because I was so impressed with where you had gone with that job. Secretary to the president of Boeing sounded so grand. But it was only because you were always so honest, hard working and precise that you made that opportunity for yourself. You are an inspiration.
One thing I will miss the most is seeing you show up for a family gathering. You were always early, wearing your turquois coat with your purse hanging from your elbow. We'd all holler, "Grandma's here!" then rush over for hugs and smooches. You always smelled so clean and sweet, not old lady frilly, just well scrubbed; nothing smells quite like Grandma's house. I'm going to miss that. As soon as your coat was off, we knew we were in for stories. You always had the best tales from growing up, raising Mom, camping with friends, crazy accounts from work folks. I'm so glad I taped so many of our chats so we can keep sharing your memories.
Another striking memory of you is your hands. You had a very particular way of holding them, working with them, tearing cloth into strips, washing the sink and countertop at the end of cleaning up. Maybe it was because your hands hurt from using them so much throughout your life. All of the fried chicken, biscuits, bread, pies, jam, quilts, smocks, pants suits, curtains, dish towels, afghans, knit sweaters and baby booties, embroidered tea towels, seat covers, pillows and innumerable other projects that came from your hands, time and patience is mind boggling. That one person can create so much is becoming a thing of the past. I don't know how many times I watched you wash your kitchen sink. You always held the dish cloth loose with your fingertips, then swirled lots of water around in circles. Everything sparkled by the time you were finished. I wouldn't have hesitated to eat my meal off of your kitchen floor.
But you weren't just a dedicated homemaker ... you were fun. Who else could have pulled 8 Aces on a poker hand? How many other grannies wore a red clown nose or pink feather boa or Roman army helmet? Who else is going to call me Monday night to ask if I just saw that $75,000 Colonial table on Antiques Roadshow? One regret is I still have minutes left on the calling card you gave me for my birthday because you hated my cell phone connection dropping all the time. How am I going to use up that card? I hope you know how much you are going to be missed and how huge a void there is in our family now. You're one of a kind and I will always love you for that.