City sidewalks, busy sidewalks

This is a re-posting of sorts, something I wrote long ago, but will never fail in its applicability. This is for you, grandma…ish libbe dich.

Grandma O and I on Christmas

It’s that time of year again when winter creeps in, tinsel scatters itself all over the house (even though it’s supposed to stay on a tree), backs hurt from too much shoveling (up north anyway), and memories keep us warm.

I’ve been reminded several times over the past few days of my grandma Müdder (that’s German for mother). Sadly, Peggy died in May of 1999. She had struggled with her health much of her life and finally lost one of the battles – but she won the war.

From the time I was two she was a huge part of my life and that of my family (lived with my family for many years between age 2 or 3 and age 19 or 20). In many ways, she was my mother. She was my source of comfort as a toddler, compassion as a teen, and companionship as an adult. She is the reason I smile so widely and that my eyes sparkle when I see happiness in others. Her greatest source of pain was the negativity on the news and her greatest source of happiness was found in the success and happiness of her friends and family.

This time of the year always seemed to be Grandma Ouellette’s (pronounced – Wah-let) favorite. She’d decorate the house from bottom to top – garland on the banister, wrapped with white lights, interspersed with red bows, all the while whistling “Silver Bells” (her favorite Christmas tune) or another traditional carol. And she would make many Christmas cookies and scatter them across the table, kitchen counters, and we snuck some into our stomachs. I can remember her saying, clear as day, “good morning lover” – she called everyone she loved, lover – or “good morning Pat’na” – that was our nickname for each other starting when I was about 13.

I’m so thankful that I have these memories – whenever I think of any of them, my face is overcome with at least a subtle grin. I miss her dearly… but am comforted knowing that her memory and grace are present in every silver bell I hear.

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