She always used to save her cans for us, so when we visited she would have several huge bags of aluminum for us to take to the recycling place. We would take the earnings from her stored-up can-shaped love and buy candy at the little old store with its long counter. I would spend a whole week eating fireball after fireball, till I could suck the entire spicy hot thing down without once spitting it out and taking a drink.
Always she had donuts in the drawer, and our favorite cereals, and treats in the pantry. With her shaking hands, she shaped her love into pies and sandwiches and mashed potatoes.
She would sit every morning in her chair under the microwave up on the high shelf and take her breathing treatment as the smell of coffee wafted through the house.
She used to let me lay long on her counter with my head in the sink, and she would wash my hair, massaging my scalp with her long, beautiful fingernails. She has always had the prettiest hands, and as I got older and people told me I had her hands it was a high compliment to me. Now my hands are marred by disease, but if I close my eyes I still feel her hands running cool water through my hair.
She was always busy– always motivated to work and clean. She thought the TV was a silly waste of time and would talk all through Little House on the Prairie on hot summer mornings while Laura and I tried to watch.
She never complained about the noise when we plunked out loud tuneless songs on her piano, or raced up and down her hall to slide to a finish on the shiny wooden floor.
She has a disease now– leukemia. Discovered almost by accident.
But disease and curse and fear cannot steal sweet memories.
I love you Grandma. Thank you for being one of the sweetest, strongest, most amazing women I know.
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