Today my family will celebrate my Grandma Joyce's 80th birthday. I've mentioned her before as the originator of the family fascination with gingersnaps, creator of the rhubarb crunch recipe, and a very clever lady.
Grandma Joyce is often in my thoughts as I work through chores. Her farm was where I first collected a chicken egg fresh from the hen as a young girl. I fondly think of her rows of glass jars holding home-dried fruit and egg noodles as I fill my own.
Grandma grew up making everything by hand and, thanks to tight economic circumstances, she never fell prey to the lure of meals in a box. Because she's done it all, she understands the real work involved in growing, harvesting, and preserving real food. She appreciates practical handiwork more than expensive baubles - a trait we most definitely share.
If there's a way to shave time off a chore, Grandma knows it. She doesn't rush through tasks but she never wastes a movement. When she says "why don't you just XYZ", her suggestion always makes more sense than what I was doing.
In another time and place, Grandma might have been an executive or tech guru. As it is, she's the most computer-savvy eighty-year-old I know, the only one of my grandparents who will read and likely comment on this blog post. Grandma instills in her three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter that reading and learning are important life-long pursuits.
Grandma loves to travel. She took two obnoxious boys and their little sister on long family car vacations as a young adult. Now, she enables our fifteen-member extended family to travel together, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Happy birthday, Grandma. We love you.