My Granna loved to count: 87 years, 7 children, 29 great-grandchildren, 34 grandchildren — 17 married and 17 not, and “some of them,” she told the nurse, with a mischievous grin, “should be.” (For the record, she was absolutely talking about me.)
She had lists of the elephants she collected — over 703, the countries she visited — something like 23, lists of the days she slept at home, and the days her marigolds bloomed (and how many), and the days she spent driving all over Arizona to cheer on one of her grandkids at a choir concert or school play or meet a brand new baby. She saved everything — tiny scraps of paper filled with her old-fashioned handwriting: scores from card games and check numbers and lists of how much milk cost in 1944, when she was married.
In her bathroom, I found a love note from me, and in a bedroom drawer: every letter my mother ever wrote her, saved in a neat stack of yellowing paper.
She died on Saturday, with her family around her — including my Grandpa, her husband of 66 years and 356 days, who offered a prayer after she had passed. “Heavenly Father,” he said, “thank you, for her.”
Their song was Tea for Two, and she liked for us to change the words:
We will raise a family,
four boys for you, three girls for me,
Can’t you see how happy we will be.