… Meet my granma, Katherine. The lady I was named after.
To me she was the most wonderful woman that ever lived. Today would have been her birthday.
Born in 1922, she was witness to many of modern history’s major events. She volunteered with the USO and sang for the troops. She had a terrible singing voice but always added with a wink, “the boys never much cared about how I sounded.”
Her friends called her Sissy, the soldiers called her a Looker.
I wish I had asked her for more stories about her life, what she’d seen, and what she experienced. Sadly, I also wish I had been at least half as interested in her life as she was in mine. You can’t tell teenagers anything.
However, I am grateful for the time we got to spend together her last two years. She moved to Charlotte and saw her grandson every weekend. My boy could make her laugh and laugh. She had the best laugh and this twinkle to her eyes that only granmas seem to have.
She was my favorite person. Ever. Growing up, it was her house I ended up at every time I ran away from home. She never once called me stupid, even when I was doing something profoundly stupid – which I typically was. She also never called me worthless or had a critical thing to say. There was no young trauma that she couldn’t soothe with a patient smile, a listening ear, and glass of sweet tea.
She also taught me all I ever needed to know about music.
She used to be Catholic but left “all that” for old time Southern religion. My granma would follow anything with a toe tapping rhythm. Even still, she was the one that introduced me to the Divine Mercy and Sacred Heart of Jesus devotions.
On her deathbed, she came Home to the Church and was buried with a plastic crucifix she’d owned since she was fifteen.
I don’t suppose you’d consider her life grand. Probably rather ordinary. But she managed to live her ordinary life quite grandly.
You always wish there’s more time.
Anyway, Happy Birthday, Grandma. And if you’re blessed enough to still have your grandmothers and grandfathers living, call em up and ask them to tell you a story.
Then be patient enough to actually listen.