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Grammy is a special kind of grandmother

Every family seems to have their own name for grandparents. I grew up with grammies, grampies, grandmamans, and grandpapas. I was fortunate enough to know several great-grandmothers and a great-grandfather. Yet my closest grandparent was always my Grammy.

Part of my childhood was spent growing up on the family farm. Grammy's house was on the corner between the barns and the lake. I could walk to her house in 5-10 minutes whether we were living in the old farmhouse my father remodeled, the house on top of the hill we rented or the house my father later built.

That physical closeness meant that I was always passing by her house - rarely without stopping in. My earliest memory is walking to her house while she and my Grampy were building an addition. I can't remember how old I was - young enough that I wasn't in school. Her house was always my destination or a way point to and from home.

We waited for the bus at her corner.

When I was done chores, I'd stop by her house on the way home to chat and get a snack - Grammy always had cookies, bars or leftovers on hand.

Honk the horn as we drove by on the way to the beach, if we didn't stop in.

It was our departure point of many moves whether to Saskatchewan where my mother had gotten a job working in the correction system, before the start of the eight hour drive back to university, or to return to an adult life so many miles away.

For most of my life, our big family gatherings with aunts, uncles and cousins occurred at Grammy's. Us kids had our own table set up for meals and playing cards in the living room. At Christmas, stockings for everyone were hung on the banister to the second floor. The basement once held a pool table/ ping-pong table where we spent hours when not scooted outside.

I spent countless hours with my Grammy watching her cook, listening to soaps, cleaning dishes or the house, fixing beans and tending to her flower and vegetable gardens. We talked about life, love and whatever else came out. The front porch was good for sitting in the morning and seeing everyone go by on their way to work or waiting for the mail. The back porch was shaded in the afternoon for those long leisurely summer afternoons between swimming and dinner.

As I grew older and spent more time away from the farm, Grammy became my favorite pen pal. Even if all we talked about was the change in season, it still kept alive our connection. In recent years, when I called her in the evening weary from a long day with small children, she reminded me to treasure these moments that sometimes felt so overwhelming.

Now that she has passed, I hope to pass onto my children - and maybe eventually my grand-children - the importance of that special connection that has been a bedrock of my life.


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