How to do dishes, set a table, sew and host a guest. That you can eat popcorn for dinner, how to sing “Dirty Lil” and play solitaire. That you can have a temper and be unfailingly polite and that there is always room for chocolate.
In the end, as her days wound down, she was still teaching me how to hold on tight to all that matters while letting go.
I inherited her name, her wedding ring and a hundred stories. But my only memories of Great Grandma Jessie are nursing home visits and marigolds on a coffin.
People always want to know what famous historical figure you would like to raise from the depths of the past and have to dinner. Me, I’d just like a solid Grandma Jessie memory of my own to add some extra shine to my inheritance.
Last week we left John at home working with all the animals to keep him company and traveled the few hours north to my family’s cabin to help with the annual spring clean up. It was the first time we had spent away from the house in months. We were off the property! I was ready for excitement, what I got was education.
I learned that the kids do not in fact need to pee every hour on a car ride. As it turns out, after months of Covid talk and faced with public restrooms and face masks, they can all hold it the whole 3.5 hour drive. A fact I will remember.
I learned that a change of scenery will not make a single bit of difference in the amount of fighting the girls do.
I learned that if Grandma and Grandpa are the only people they have been able to see in two months, the additional presence of Grandma and Grandpa won’t make a bit of difference in the referenced fighting.
I learned that different chores, no matter how enthusiastic you present them “Yay! Let’s rake pine needles!”, are still chores and they will whine about them just as much.
I learned that Clara will happily pick up and drag home every bit of garbage and “treasure” she can find when out for a paddle.
I learned that Jane will pack herself up two live snails to bring home without asking for permission.
I learned that Ivy can make fantastic cookies in any kitchen.
And I remembered that life always feels better on the water.
“Mom! Open the top!” the girls told me pointing at the barrel of pigeon feed. It was a set up, I could tell by the amount of giggles. I’m not very good at faking surprise and expecting a chicken I debated how to react as I lifted the lid.