Gram rubbed her hands together briskly, lighting an imaginary fire while piquing curiosity in her grandchildren's head. “What shall we do today, Amanda Kate?” she'd ask.
Gram always thought that farting was funny. When it wasn’t politically correct to laugh uproariously at your grandson’s flatulence, Gram was always first in line to chastise while slapping her knee in hearty approval.
Idle threats of a using the “big black stick” when we misbehaved. The rumor was that she kept it under the deck but I never saw it. And that is not because I was a particularly well-behaved child. I think she just rather liked us even when we were naughty.
The gumball machine that sat (or called to me) on the kitchen counter. Sometimes it spit out two instead of one brightly colored sugar ball with just one sticky penny from her copper jar. I found as I got older that if you shook it really hard, it spit out one.
Her muffled whistling as she completed any number of tasks around the house: "shrr-shrr-shrr-shrr-shrrrr".
Her insatiable desire to win at board games. Some people might have said she employed cheaters' tactics at Rummikub. Since I am neither a graceful winner or loser, I can say I came by it honestly.
The crisp $10 bill she gave me for dusting her 120-some wooden animal pieces when I came to visit. She wanted us to understand the value of a dollar and admonished me not to spend it at Starbucks.
Sorry, Grammie. I have failed you many times in this regard.
My favorite snapshot is driving with her to my cousins wedding in Wisconsin. I made sure to get a picture of her to remember how she suavely placed her sunglasses on top of her bifocals for the optimal sunless driving experience. It was a beautiful summer day on a long stretch of road where she and I listened to her big band favorites on CD. Glenn Miller. I knew right then that this would be a memory I would have of her for the rest of my life. And it is.
A few trips to downtown Chicago over the past few years are what I’ll associate most with her. That Windy City so cold last time we visited. We made our customary stop downtown to eat lunch on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building where we could see out on to the city rooftops. Tonight the city dines without her.
The older I get, the more I realize that all I call good in my life I can trace back to the godly legacy lived out in the lives of my grandparents. Those decisions they made, through the good and the bad, in the difficult and the plenty carried such significance as they shaped and anchored the lives of all those who followed after them. Our ripple effect is great. Thank you, Lord, for the power of her continued legacy.