Paying Respects

I spent this past weekend on a whirlwind trip to the freezing east coast to say goodbye to my last surviving grandparent. After 98 years and 8 months, the sweet, funny and feisty Gma Rose left us behind, and she will be very missed.

She was a maker; she sewed clothes in her younger years and quilted feverishly in her later years. She hand-painted blown egg shells by the dozens and rolled out miles of dough for Hungarian nut cookies. She collected items from pine cones to cardboard as materials that she might want to use in an upcoming project. If you think creativity is genetic, I’m sure some of mine came from her.

Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture | the dirt | paying respects

I spent nearly every summer of my childhood with her and my grandfather in North Carolina happily cruising around in their Airstream trailer while she constantly worried about the possibility of explaining to my parents that I’d inevitably been gobbled up by the alligator that lived in the swimming hole near their property.

When she visited me in California a few years ago, my dog stole her hearing aids off the nightstand and ate them. She laughed at the idea that she must of had tasty smelling ears and wondering how she was going to explain it all to the doctor. Two winters ago, she let me tattoo her (with Sharpies) with her namesake after Christmas dinner – she thought it was hysterical and couldn’t wait to show the ladies in her domino group her new tattoo.

Last summer, we ate New England lobsters and drank wine together on my parents porch in New Jersey (one of her favorite meals), proving life is good to the last drop.

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