I wake up early, something that happens to me often when I stay here. Normally I would see that as a nuisance, but in this house, this bed, I see it as a chance to reminisce, smiling to myself as memories of the years float through my mind.
The bed creaks as I roll over, reminding me of its seventy plus years of age, perhaps trying to coax me to get up and meet the morning sun. If this bed could talk…well, it would probably tell me how lazy I am for sleeping past eight o’clock, when its sole occupants for so many years were a farmer and his wife. Those are the type of people that rise early, up before the sun has even broken the dim line of the horizon.
Be that as it may, I remain in bed, relishing this early morning relaxation, all the while keeping one ear perked for the sound of the other occupant of the home being up and about. I don’t really feel a desire to get up earlier than her, you see, but I don’t like to stay in too late after she is up.
When I come out of the bedroom, hair in a rats nest, eyes a bit bleary, voice hoarse, I know just how I’ll find her. She’ll be at her dining room table, morning coffee in a chipped coffee mug, nightgown slightly faded, Bible and Daily Bread at hand.
She’ll want to jump up, to know what I like for breakfast – cereal, toast, coffee? Its likely she’ll mention juice and milk in the refrigerator; of course I should help my self to everything.
Her hands clasped tightly, with fingers that keep fidgeting and thumbs that keep twiddling, even when she’s sitting still as a stone, she’ll pray a blessing upon us and our bowls of cereal. Next will be the Bible passages listed in her Daily Bread, pausing to rifle through the worn pages, to locate the exact chapter and verse. Following that will be the reading of the the daily writings in the large print version of the devotional. She reads clearly, concisely, occasionally using her forefinger to mark a line of interest.
Then we pray again, this time for each person in the family who is having a birthday that day. When you bear thirteen children, and are given back thirty two grandchildren and sixty four great-grandchildren, birthdays can become every day occurrences. Once everyone has been covered in prayer, we rise, ready to get on with the day.
Dishes are done, pajamas are replaced with clothes fit for the day, and we reconvene in the dining room, to wonder what to do next. This is place full of wondering, with a woman who loves to wonder. Often it starts with something along the lines of “I wonder if those geraniums need to be watered”, or “I wonder if we need more bananas”, which of course will lead to trips out to the garden, or in to the grocery store. The day will progress as we “wonder” about playing a game – probably dice or cards – and will culminate in”wondering” if its time for nap. There will be liberal amounts of snacks, offers of pop, and breaks for visiting.
This place, in its physical form, is my grandma’s house. For the longest time it was my grandparents house, but in the last year and half my grandpa passed away. Theirs was a marriage of 73 years, most of which I know very little about. Lots of children, lots of sweat and tears, lots of losses and gains.
But the main thing about it all, the part that was most visible to me, was lots of love.
There are certain places in the world that I think we will always feel safe, certain of love, acceptance, and a jar full of lemon drops. For me, that is my grandma’s house.
She is a sacrificial lover, and she will not let any hardship, any difficulty, allow her to lose her love for you. She doesn’t seem to know what it means to walk away, to throw in the towel, to leave someone to their own devices.
When someone like that tells you that they love you, it takes on a whole new meaning.
And then I realize that my grandma’s house, no matter the memories that it may hold, is not the real place I get those feelings from. Instead, its something more abstract, a place that cannot necessarily be seen, but can always be felt.
A place of love.