I'm sure there are a lot of people my age who love Betty White because she reminds them of their grandmother. Well, I'm no different. My Grandmother died when I was 9, but the picture I have of her in my mind is a dead ringer for Ms. White right down to the haircut and penchant for pullovers. My Grandmother never had to worry about "taking any guff" because we never had reason to give her any. She took us to the Louisville Zoo (still my favorite) and Hogan's Fountain (the closest thing to a water park in Louisville).
Considering how little time I had with her, she made a great impact on my life. She grew tomatoes, peppers, and blackberries in the backyard. My sister and I used to pick them along with Honeysuckle blossoms, pull out their stamen's, and drink their nectar. She taught me how to play badminton. I remember, vividly, making coleslaw from scratch with her. She had an ancient vegetable mill (which I've never seen since) that we used to shred the cabbage and carrots. Her homemade dressing was divine and ruined me for other coleslaw's for years. They just never tasted as good.
When my sister and I were little, our favorite thing in the world was playing the "Cats" soundtrack on my Grandparents large console record player. We would tuck our blankeys into the waist of our pants and leap from chair to davenport to floor, singing and dancing our hearts out.
They used to take us to the country club several times a week and we'd swim and get golden brown while they played 9 and 18 holes of golf. I don't remember how we paid for the sandwiches and ice cream we would get from the clubhouse. Surely, they gave us a dollar.
My Grandmother was a product of the depression and immigration. I remember complaining that I was hungry during one of our road trips from Louisville to Dallas. Immediately, she opened the glove compartment in their boat of a car and produced 2 Shoney's donut sticks. It dawned on my later that we hadn't stopped at a Shoney's yet that year.
When my Grandmother died, I remember we were at home watching TV. The phone kept ringing and we tried to ignore it. PBS was playing a miniseries we wanted to see and this was well before DVR. I'm convinced my father knew it would be bad news if he answered the phone. Eventually, he answered and the atmosphere of the room immediately changed. I remember lying on the floor, annoyed that I was missing the action on TV with the mute on. My sister cried. I never did.
In my own way, I think that's what Grandma would have wanted. She would have hated interrupting her granddaughters afternoon and ruining the day- surely it could wait. She always took our side and never wanted to bother us or put anyone out. She was the classiest dame I ever met, though I didn't know it at the time.
I love my Grandmother (and my Gram's who is still with us) and hope we can all take a moment today to remember and thank not only our Mom's, but the Grandmother's that helped make us the way we are.