claiming our daze and our days on the prairie
not long ago i wondered if i’d ever see my nan again…this week we did. she came down with my folks and left us with memories that only she could give.
as she entered our home for the first time ever, her eyes grew wide, then squinted quickly. she said, “well, my kristin, this home will provide you with a lifetime of work. you can work and work and work here until you die.” yes, i think i can.
i had a comrade at meal times…she’d graciously pick the meat out of her pasta. pass the chicken for our big salads on down. ask for an egg scramble without the ham but with extra peppers.
we turned over more ground for a garden, her complaining the whole time that these tools were made for big men, not like hers which is perfect for a woman. she was sure that there was a better way to do the same job, but she wouldn’t sit, would seldom take a drink of water, and three generations readied the ground for more vegetables. i’m sure they will be sweeter because of it.
we looked at things old, things new. she was amazed at eliza’s loud presence in the world saying that she would never forget that shrill voice. micah gravitated to her knowing which ear to speak into, which eye to look into. naomi waited until evening when the younger two went to bed. then they sat at the piano together comparing songs they knew by ear. nan would read her pages of streams of thoughts.
her awe at the game of “making a dust storm” was only one of the moments she shook her head at the kids’ activities or behavior. at one point when eliza was eating a little cream container, nan shook her head and i said, “you’re the one with 13 kids, help me!” she went on to make a funny face which eliza imitated and out popped the cream container. thank you, nan.
i have been moved many times by nan’s persistent strength, her faith, her ease at giving authority and power over while keeping enough for herself. this mama of 13, grandmother of dozens, great grandmother of several has found a way to make life work for her. i heard about the letter she left on her door should someone find her after she died. when my folks went to pick her up for this trip, my dad took a photo for me. my favorite line: “please do not disturb this last bit of my earthly departure from here to eternity- but you continue to give solace and hope to the living in the savior’s name.” that’s my nan.
may i please have this confidence.
and perhaps the most comical part of our trip was her annoyance that we don’t have cable to give her a 24 hour news station so she could watch obama updates. this is a canadian woman completely engaged with his charisma and messages of hope…enough to paint a picture of him.