Grandma Alice's Last Dance

grandmaalicemainGrandma Alice's wrinkled face and silvery hair glowed in the candlelight as she presided over another marvelous Easter dinner. It was her eighty-fifth year but she never complained, despite her many aches and pains. The ultimate hostess, her house had been the holiday gathering place for three generations of hungry relatives for as long as this young boy could remember.

Before dinner, the house was filled with laughter and good-natured ribbing as family got reacquainted after being apart far too long. This was a time before cell phones and Facebook ... so phone calls were few and far between. Back then, a "long distance" call was a big deal; expensive too.

Background music was provided by Grandma's ancient record player and a stack of albums featuring Benny Goodman and a host of other famous folks. Big bands, polkas and the occasional waltz were the the tunes of Grandma's day.

The massive dark cherry-wood table belonged in a Norman Rockwell painting. Huge turkey, surrounded by steaming bowls of potatoes, corn, green beans, squash, and my Great Aunt's famous black cherry Jello dish. Two tall candles were lit and then it was time for the family matriarch, Aunt Jinna, to pray. She was Grandma Alice's older sister and since both of their husbands had passed, they were all that was left of that generation. My aunt's voice was clear and strong when she prayed and, even as a young boy, I took note that the God she called upon had to be very real indeed. With a solemn "Amen", the time came to eat and talk, and then eat some more.

During dinner, it was great fun to hear the banter bounce around the room. My dad and mom did their best to get the older ladies ruffled, but rarely succeeded. The elders loved to tell stories of their childhood days. They shared of many challenges but were quick to point out that they'd also managed to travel the world, attend fancy balls, to draw near to the Lord, and to raise rock solid families, as well. Little did I know that this would be the last Easter dinner with my beloved grandmother and that her time to leave us was very close at hand. To this day, the pain of her passing is balanced by a most marvelous thing that happened during that final Easter dinner.

[Read the rest of the article at Brian D. Molitor's blog.]