Saturday, February 22, 2014

Some Cookies and a Visit

Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother.  She was a delightful woman, full of life and vigor.  I spent nearly every weekend at my grandparent's home as a child and honestly they are some of my very best memories.

I would garden with my grandfather and "help" in his small motor shop.  I would bake and can in the kitchen with Grandma.  There was never a dull moment but lots of time for play.  If I could choose to how I will be a grandparent, I would want my grandchildren to see me as I saw them.

One thing I remember, nearly every Saturday, was Grandma making little boxes or plates or trays of homemade treats to deliver to the elderly and shut ins around her community.  Once she had them all together we would walk from house to house delivering one package at a time.  We always stopped to visit and talk.  Sometimes we would play card or board games and other times we would just sit and chat.  When the weather was too cold or wet we would take her car and drive from place to place, all across town until every person she knew had gotten a teeny bit of Grandma's "personal touch".  I never wondered why or begged not to go.  I loved these little journeys.

One of Grandma's favorite treats was apple pie.  Fortunately it was one of Papa's favorites too.  Unfortunately most of the pies left before Papa got any...much to his unending chagrin. ;)
As an adult I look back on those walks and see how much they had delighted those people.  Grandma is now in a long term care facility with severe dementia and suffering the effects of a major stroke.  No one goes to visit her or bring her treats other than my mother and I am too far to visit more than once a year or so.

Grandma was the epitome of class and charity.  Sure, she was the wife of a mechanic who also worked her whole life while raising two children.  She scrimped and saved and worked so hard so that my mother and uncle could have a good life.  I remember stories of her bringing others in for dinners when my mother was young who could not afford a meal despite them barely making ends meet.  She was the woman who taught her granddaughter how to do the polka in a living room instead of a ballroom.

She was not what "society" would have called a lady, but she was a lady where it counted.  She understood charity and faith better than almost anyone I have ever known.  She gave of herself, her time, and her talents with vigor and abandon.  I was never wise enough in my youth to tell her how much she taught me and I regret that.  I only hope that someday she will come to know how blessed I am to have her and her examples.

Charity begins at home.  It begins in our own home and our backyard and our immediate community.  Grandma knew that and understood it but she went beyond and lived it.  Who do you know that could use a little boost?  A little treat?  Who could benefit from the gift of your time and talents?  This is where true charity begins.  Not in escapades that lead to honors and gratification, but in the little moments that you choose to go beyond yourself and quietly care about someone else. 

What have you done quietly for Christ lately?  Where do you sit on the Corporal Works of Mercy?  Have you fed the hungry or given water to those who thirst?  Clothed the naked?  Have you helped to shelter the homeless or visited the sick?  What about those in prison and the dead?

Where in that list do you need to make improvements - not for your own glory, but for God's?

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