I loved my grandma. We had a special relationship, but I have to say, she had one with all her grandchildren. It’s just I was one of the lucky ones. Our farm was only fifteen minutes away from theirs and we were with them a lot. Their house sat on a large corner lot at the edge of Wood River, a small town. The house was little with front cement steps leading to their dining/living room door. I can’t remember a time Grandma didn’t greet us when she saw our car pull up. She always held the door wide open, a big smile on her face, her gray hair ruffled, wearing a short-sleeved blouse and her heavy black shoes with a small heel like the ones women often wore then. She was large boned and rather tall. I was young and just her presence as I looked up at her made it feel as if warmth and happiness embraced me. She loved us. “Daddy! Look who’s here,” she’d loudly exclaim. He was nearly deaf and would turn around in his soft armed chair facing the television, toss his arm up in the air in greeting and say, “hello, hello!”
My brother, sisters and I would sit for a while to listen to adult conversation. I liked hearing their latest news about farming, weather, my aunts, uncles, and relatives. It felt like I was listening to exposed secrets, which their conversation really wasn’t, but it surely made me feel important. Grandma usually had a canary or a parakeet in a cage in front of one of the dining room windows. I would walk over to them, loving how their small talons danced sideways across a round, long peg the width of the cage, bobbing their heads back and forth to keep an eye on me. Once tired of conversation and birdwatching, we kids climbed the stairs to the attic and easily entertained ourselves. A small, lace-curtained window framed a corn field to the south, making the attic bright and inviting. It was like having our own special playroom, despite the fact there was a bed in it for guests. If we stayed overnight, we loved sleeping “up in the attic” as we called it. We talked, giggled and thoroughly enjoyed that no one could hear us, or so we thought.
My grandparents have been gone for a significant number of years, but I have one visible object that brings me close to Grandma every day.
It’s a plant, the original one Grandma passed on to my mother, then my family passed to me when Mom died. Its flower is unique or must be so because my thirteen-year-old granddaughter yesterday walked over to view its light pink blooms resembling the round spray of a firework. “What is this plant, Grandma? The flowers are so pretty!” I told her it was a Hoya and we searched for more buds about to bloom. It’s at least fifty years old and thriving. The vines keep growing and growing, extending everywhere. Slips have been “stolen” from it so that my siblings and our children have one. Grandma would be pleased. My granddaughter beside me is the fifth generation able to touch and admire the Hoya. I’m sure Grandma would have liked watching as we searched for blossoms. Or, maybe she was?