Sometimes, when you least expect it, you see something, remember something, or have a dear cousin contact you. That’s what happened Saturday. It’s taken me a few days to compose myself enough to tell you about it. I’m still blown away.
I’ve told you about our Grandma Jewell before. Dad’s Mother, she had three ornery boys and one daughter. She was the quintessential Irish woman; unwavering in her Catholic faith, sincere in prayer, and love for me and all my cousins that was deep, encouraging, and lasting. She treated us all as equals. My cousin Jilla and I were the only girls with all of those nine boys. So glad we had each other. I’m sure we were “Dad just came home from Korea” babies. The two of us, my brother Tom, and cousin Michael, were four babies at the beginning of the boom, 1951 – 1953.
I remember Gram mentioning to my dad, “You know, Tommy, the boys are wearing their hair longer nowadays. It wouldn’t hurt if they skipped a week or two at the barbershop.” My dad didn’t answer and didn’t disagree with her. A more informed person didn’t exist. She and her sister Anna lived together after Grandpa died, as they had their entire lives. A single woman rarely lived alone in those days. We thought nothing of it.
One thing a well refined young lady did when Grandma and Aunt Anna were young was needlework. Embroidery, specifically. They always had a work in progress. They learned from their Mother, and I learned from mine, how to do various stitches: cross stitch, straight stitches, backstitching, and the French knot. I still cannot do a French knot I like. But Gram could. Her stitches were perfect every time. Even as her vision was poor in her later years, she did embroidery.
Saturday, I received a small package in the mail. These were inside:
The note inside was so beautiful. Cousins Terri and Jeff were going through some things and found these. Their folks supplied Gram with her projects until late in her life. I had tears that they thought of me to keep them. Gram lived two years longer than Dad did; when we saw her the day after his death, she cried and said, “This is the worst shock of her life.” She was 95 and heartbroken. Each time after that we visited, she asked, “Do you think my Tommy’s in heaven?” Absolutely, Gram. How she loved her children all of her life.
Cousin Terri wrote these were Gram’s last masterpieces. And they are works of art. Up close, you can see the pink, circular, puffy stitches, a/k/a French knots. My nemesis! I run my fingers over her flossed stitches and know how she must have labored over those perfect stitches. I feel the puffy knots that elude me, and I can hear her modestly proclaim, “Now, Kathy, I’ve just had more practice than you.” Her humility was one of her best qualities. I want to be like her. I need to remember that when I’m less than loveable. Be like Gram. A worthy heroine. I really think if God is female, He is just like her. Just saying. Thank you, Terri and Jeff. You have given me a gift I really needed right now. It’s magic for my soul. Bless you both.
Folks, this is the season for expressing love. You can give it away, and you also have to receive love, too. Accept it, it’s a beautiful feeling. Regardless of our Covid-Blues, it’s no excuse to be mean to people. Unacceptable behavior does not get a pass because we’re all stressed. Rudeness and temper do not get a pass. Tantrums lead to more of the same. Whatever we give is what we’ll receive more of. Wouldn’t you rather have it be love than hatred and ugliness? I would.
Thank you for reading today. I’ll be back tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Join me. Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Courteous. Be Grateful. Be like my Gram. And maybe I’ll finally learn to make beautiful French knots.