Sunday, September 21, 2008 ode to my grandma

It's the most amazing weather I've ever seen! I want to spend as much time outside this season as I possibly can. It literally just keeps me in an endless good mood! Since this weather and the sweet smell of fall makes me cherish memories from my past (wheaton college and from growing up) I'm going to post a few writings that I did in high school.

This one is a story of one of my grandmas. I have 3 amazing ones, but I just wrote this because I have really strong memories from my grandma's farm. You might get bored if you don't know my grandma and wonder what the heck I'm talking about, but that's okay. Maybe it'll evoke memories of your grandma or grandpa and inspire you to write something to her or him,too.


I’ve finally learned to appreciate the people I love. I’ve realized that its around these people that I can be who I want to be: goofy, serious, comfortable, whatever the heck I feel like. I don’t feel self conscious or fat around them. They love me the way I am. Can a story be an ode? If so, this is a story-ode to my Grandma Bigham, the person who amazes me, intrigues me, and welcomes me. I never have to say anything around her, but I can also say whatever I want. I can just rest knowing she is there. When she is at my house, I know that the dishes will get done, the socks will finally get matched, and my parents won’t fight. It’s like LOVE enters the room when she enters the room. I love her spirit of giving and unbelievable wisdom. She never gets tired of me asking her to tell the same stories over and over. And she is a great cook. When we eat at her house, I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world. The smell of that house brings out who I want to be. I’m carefree, I’m a kid again.

She took my hand after the play and I had a flashback. I remember sitting in her church pew, the one we always sit in when we go to that tiny united Methodist church where everyone is over 4 times my age and the piano has like 87 keys out of tune. So I used to lay in her lap when I was really little and sleep, or eat cheerios, or daydream. Then as I got older, I would have to sit up, and watch my grandma gently whisper to my little brother and sister, “Be quiet and sit still.” But one time when I was holding her hand, sitting by her, (by the way, it was a privilege sit by her because every single cousin wanted to sit there) and I felt her fingers. And I can hardly describe the way they felt, but I will try. The whole top section of each finger was smooth and fingerprint-less. The skin moved back and forth under my soft tiny fingers as I pushed the tough but smooth skin from side to side. I LOVED THAT FEELING. She thought it was funny that I was amused by her fingers, and let me hold her hand and feel all five fingers as long as I wanted. The more I think about it, the more I wonder how they got like that, because my mom’s aren’t quite like that yet. Maybe it’s something that happens to all people over the age of 70, but I think it’s a mixture of other things. I think it’s all the dishes she has done. It has to be over 10,000. And I think it’s all the times she has gripped the handlebars of the 4-wheeler to drive more water bottles out to the field, or a lunch in a red cooler if one of the ‘men’ forgot his, or sunscreen. Or to grasp the rough radio button that I could never hold down to relay an important message to one of the tractor drivers. Perhaps they got rough from squeezing through the ‘Fat Man Squeeze’ at Little Grassy Grandparent’s camp so many times, or from turning the pages of The Fourteen Bears, Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch, and Goodnight Moon so many times. I think part of the reason they’re fingerprintless is that she has cut up hundreds, thousands of Charlie’s peaches and apples and pumpkins. Also, she has mixed up flour and chicken fat (eww) and other heavenly mystery ingredients for our favorite chicken and dumplings at least 200 times, and undoubtedly knows the recipe by heart. I think it is from the hundreds of kids she has picked up off the ground after they fell off the tire swing or off of the lime pile or trampoline. No doubt the hours she has spent with a comb and brush, fluffing her colored hair into it’s usual fluff ball has contributed to those finger tips. They’re tough and smooth from grasping a pen so tightly to write letters by the hundreds to her lover overseas at war. They’re worn from picking strawberries and blueberries at Charlie’s farm at six in the morning (to get the good ones before everyone else gets there!) They must be like that from making invisible good deed marks on the wall in the kitchen. For a while I thought the marks were real, when I was really little. Then I went through a phase where I thought it was retarded, that the marks didn’t mean anything and I could fight with my sisters and cousins if I wanted. But now, I’m right there with her adding and subtracting behavior marks. Her lack of fingerprints could also be from flipping through the worn pages of her Bible. Her extreme love of the Lord is so apparent-from even a short encounter with her. This is the kind of woman I want to grow up to to be.

I guess I’m growing up, but I’m still really REALLY young in her blue eyes. After all, I’m less than 1/3 of her age. It works to my advantage. A lot of her clothes from the 70s are in style now, and I raid the what used to be ‘dress up closet’ for actual clothes-hats, jackets, shoes, whatever I can find. I think I look pretty sweet and vintage in my grandma’s clothes. Its funny how things come right back around. Like the circle of life. When grandpa died, instead of dwelling on that indescribable loss, she poured herself into baby Luke and baby Grant. Now they’re growing up, and they’re learning the ways of the farm. My Grandma Bigham is the glue holding the Bigham farm together. She unfailingly beats the sunrise up, and I’m always stirred out of my light sleep on the living room floor by the gentle purr of the coffee maker. It’s not much of an issue though, when I groggily walk into the kitchen to find fresh peach and blueberry pancakes on the table.

Gosh, how her years make her wise. I have never heard my grandma yell. She has spoken firmly, but only when one of her grandchildren is doing something hurtful to themselves or someone else. It’s nice there, though, at the farm, to not have to worry about running around without a shirt**this was when I was younger, don’t worry** or in the street because there is hardly any traffic. (And the traffic there is, is usually tractors going an average of 10 miles per hour.) It’s far away from here, Bigham road, but it’s the most wonderful road I know. It leads to the most peaceful place I know. I’ve known her phone number by memory since age seven probably. The number is comforting, it’s comfortable. Just like my grandma’s lap. Just like her hands, just like her bed, her silkies, just like the personalized quilts she makes for us and has all over her house, just like her frail but enthusiastic little voice that could never learn to sing on key because of the out of tune piano at her church. There is a pew in that little Methodist church with their names on it, in Memory of Roy Dean and Irma Dorthea Bigham. They deserve that bench. They have countlessly loaded up children and grandchildren into their purple Lincoln towncar to bring them into that tiny town church so we could learn about Jesus. They have sung thousands of hymns sitting in that pew.

I hope no one who ever knew my grandma ever forgets the zest she had for life and for serving the Lord. I’ll never forget the way she filled up the cow feeding trough with water for our ‘swimming pool’, took us on nature walks, exploration hikes of every sort, let us pick up frogs, go fishing and make any art and craft imaginable. She also never let a good newspaper or readers digest article get past us if we were visiting. And if we weren’t there, she saves it until we come so we can read it. Now I save the good articles for her, too. I love my grandma so much, she represents life to me no matter how old she gets. Most of all she is love. I love you grandma!

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