At 6am this morning, my brother and I were woken by the thud of our Grandmother’s footsteps stomping down the passage. Eventually we rose and greeted our Grandma. She was sitting at the kitchen table in her dressing gown, with the radio on. Her hair was set in rollers, tied with a blue and orange patterned scarf. She had a cigarette in one hand, and a pen in the other. A half drunken cup of tea, white with no sugar, lay beside her opened puzzle book. She likes the puzzles that look like a crossword but you just put different numbers in instead. I don’t remember what they are called, but I like them too.
She said good morning, and opened her right arm for a cuddle. She promptly got up and made us breakfast. Toast. Country split white bread (you know, the one with the holes in it) with melted butter and just a smidge of vegemite. For herself she gathered weet-bix, topped with all bran and nutri grain. We all sat down with our puzzle books, eating our breakfast and drinking milos out of bone-coloured plastic mugs.
After breakfast, Grandma headed out to the sewing room. For there were quilts to be made and slacks to be hemmed. Ben and I busied ourselves with colouring books, and fought over who got to play Theme Park world on Grandma’s Windows XP computer. A sewing friend popped in for a visit, and Grandma promptly baked a batch of scones. She makes the best date scones. She bragged about how good we were doing at school, and topped the scones with butter so thick that it almost resembled cheese.
For lunch we headed down to a local cafe. I enjoyed a sprite spider and Grandma ordered fish and chips, with extra chips ofcourse. If Grandma hadn’t had time today, we probably would have just had ham & cheese sandwiches, or toasted those frozen McCains ham & pineapple pizzas. Although if we were really lucky, the old fashioned skillet would have been on the stove cooking a batch of pikelets.
After lunch we went for a drive to Cavendish. We generally go random places like that. We haven’t done that for a long time though, Grandma has been busy preparing for Sheepvention. So just the other day, whilst the sewing ladies were putting the final touches on this years quilt, Lisa and I went and played in the pines. We raided the pantry hoping for some chocolate royals or chocolate-coated teddy bear biscuits, but ended up with some malt-o-malt biscuits and out of date Le Snaks. We spent the afternoon exploring, making wishes in toadstool rings and somehow convinced ourselves that there were black bras hanging in the trees, and someone was actually living in there. We can be so silly sometimes.
Tonight we’re having a family dinner. A roast. You should smell it. Grandma is busy peeling potatoes and chopping pumpkin. I can’t see any jelly though, so the peas must be coming boiled. Thank god, they’re bad enough as they are. Mum and Dad will arrive soon, and my uncle, aunty and cousins will too. The long green stool will be fetched from the middle bedroom, and the table extended. The camping set of white knives and forks will be retrieved from the top cupboard, and promptly placed next to the plastic salt and pepper shakers. James will probably do something naughty, and grandma will go after him with a fly swat. Ben, on the other hand, will just be being the golden child he is.
For dessert we are having bread and butter pudding. I’m not sure if I like it, but it sure is a change from the vanilla ice cream topped with sprinkles and chocolate topping we normally have.
But here’s the thing.
We aren’t having a family dinner tonight.
I’m not spending the day with my Grandma,
and I definitely didn’t have a sprite spider for lunch.
This is just a tribute.
For one year ago today, we said goodbye and let the angels take our dear old Grandma Marie to heaven.
I know she is up there enjoying a cup of tea with Gwen, and no doubt bossing everyone around. There will be salads with no cucumber, and two thermos’ filled ready to take to hockey. I’m sure there is a quilt being made for Layla too, and she’s probably not happy with Ben’s unwashed hair or dad’s ripped work pants.
But most of all, I’m sure she is up there with a smile on her face, proud as punch and wiggling her fore finger at us through the clouds.
Rest in peace Grandma Marie.
The world is definitely not the same without you.