Happy Memories of My (mischievous) Great Grandmother
As a child, I always loved when we would make an outing to my great Grandma Verna's house. It wasn't too far off of the old poem, "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go." As a widow, Grandma Verna lived in a rural farmhouse that felt secluded and somewhat lonely. Her main company were the occasional barn cats, caring neighbors and the farm hands that would sow and harvest acres of onions. I could never tell if the arrival of our large family would overwhelm grandma or if she loved the company? Probably both.
Grandma Verna passed away when I was twelve years old and I so I don't have a ton of memories; however, I do remember the strangest things. For example, I remember the dirt road leading up to the house, synthetic green carpet on her front porch, jars of bottled fruit on her shelves, a candy dish on her coffee table (that always had the candy that I didn't like such as peppermint disks and black licorice jelly beans), her always sitting in a wooden rocking chair crocheting and a strange homemade gift.
One visit around Easter time, we showed up to her house and she let us know that she had a surprise for each of us. She had been working hard in anticipation of our visit. Once we arrived she asked us to fetch a box off of the shelf. With great excitement she opened the box for the big reveal of which we would each get a...pooping duck.
Yes, a crocheted duck that you would squeeze and it would "poop" out jelly beans. Much to my mother's chagrin, we thought it was the funniest thing ever and went around having the duck poop on everything in sight. That is one of my happiest memories of Grandma Verna. I always took her to be so proper, if not straitlaced, and here she had been secretly crocheting a fringe gift that would forever etch itself into my memory banks.
For a woman that saw the advent of the automobile, the phone, the electric light bulb, and even the television, I wonder what she would think of the new toys that have lights, lasers, sounds, and mechanical operations? What would she think of the gourmet salt water taffy that her great great granddaughters ship out on a daily basis? Things have sure changed but I'd suspect that the same mischievousness and love that drove her to spend countless hours crocheting ducks would probably lean to her filling her candy dish with taffy that would include flavors like chicken n' waffles or maple bacon or peanut butter and jelly. One thing that hasn't changed is that time invested into people yields powerful memories that can span decades and generations. Cheers to great grandma Verna for caring enough to make us laugh.